The chairman of the D.C. Council’s public safety committee on Thursday ended the yearly oversight hearing for the police department before all testimony could be presented after protesters interrupted Chief Peter Newsham’s presentation.
Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) warned spectators several times about disruptions as Newsham made opening remarks and then took questions from two lawmakers at the John A. Wilson Building.
A spokesman for Allen said the public part of the hearing will not resume, though people can submit testimony through Monday and police officials will answer remaining questions of committee members.
The hearing had gone six hours, including four hours of testimony from more than 40 members of the public. A wide range of topics included violent crime at its lowest point since 1965, the department’s struggle to recruit new officers and training initiatives.
Members of activist groups accused police of unfairly targeting minorities. Some who testified noted studies that have shown brutality complaints are up against D.C. police and data demonstrating most police stops and frisks are of black people. One heckler yelled “liar” as Newsham testified.