D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Wednesday signed emergency policing legislation passed by the D.C. Council earlier this month amid mass demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd during police custody in Minneapolis.
The measure also bars police from using chemical irritants or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters, and unions representing officers will not be allowed to negotiate disciplinary measures during collective bargaining.
The Bowser administration successfully pushed for changes to the first version of the police bill sent to her by the council last month, including the removal of standards for using non-deadly force to stop suspects. Police Chief Peter Newsham has said that language “essentially eliminates the police department’s ability to arrest violent offenders at the scenes of crimes.”
The council also added provisions allowing the next of kin of people killed by police to stop the footage of the deaths from going public.
Lawmakers also inserted language that would allow prisoners to vote while incarcerated on felonies — joining only Vermont and Maine in enfranchising such inmates.
The law takes effect immediately, for 90 days. The council plans to hold a hearing before passing a permanent version of the bill spearheaded by council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who oversees public safety agencies.