Representatives of seven organizations yesterday urged the D.C. City Council to pass legislation that would prohibit the city's Police Department from using the controversial hollow-point bullet as standard issue for police revolvers.
The council is scheduled to consider the bill to restrict the use of hollow-point bullets on first reading tonight. Final passage of the bill could occur at the next legislative Council meeting unless the bill fails to pass on first reading.
Members of the groups said they oppose the use of the hoolow-point bullet because the bullets would endager the lives of police and citizens and they urged that the decision to use the bullets be left to elected representatives of the city, not an appointed police chief.
The group included representatives of the NAACP, the American Civl Liberties Union, the Washington Urban League, Washington Counsil of Lawyers, Washington Dismas Project, which provides third party custody for defendants, the Office of Social Development of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Capitol Hill Ministry Group.
"We're calling for substantial reviewing power by elected representatives of the tyres of weapons that will be used in the community," said Jane McGrew of the Washington Council of Lawyers."The council should not be running the day-to-day decisions (of the police department) but this is a matter which the elective representatives should decide and not the department," she said.
In January, Chief of Police Maurice Cullinane began issuing the hollow-point bullets. Cullinane said the bullets had greater potential for stopping criminals and that the missuse of them would be controlled by the city's strict regulations which govern when an officer can fire his weapon.
Unlike the round-nose bullets used previously by the city's 4300-member police force, the hollow-point bullets expand upon contact with the target and would create a larger wound.