America’s new ‘progressive prosecutors’ are getting pushback

Mark Berman on the reality facing “progressive prosecutors.” Amber Phillips looks into Wednesday’s key witnesses: William B. Taylor and George Kent. Plus, Mustafa Salim on the unconventional role of Iraq’s tuk-tuks.
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Why ‘progressive prosecutors’ are getting pushback
More than two dozen recently elected prosecutors are pushing progressive policies across the country — including in Philadelphia, Dallas and Orlando — and breaking from decades of tough-on-crime thinking.

Progressive prosecutors, as they are generally known, have been elected on platforms that include abandoning cash bail, declining low-level charges, not pursuing marijuana cases and closely scrutinizing police conduct, in efforts to change a system that they say over-incarcerates and disproportionately punishes poor people and racial minorities.

Mark Berman covers law enforcement and criminal justice, he says a new kind of debate is unfolding across the country among prosecutors. 

“Other prosecutors say that this isn't the role of a prosecutor,” Berman says. “They argue that you can't just look at a class of crimes and decide not to prosecute them. And that is what some of these progressive prosecutors have done, is they've said that they're not going to pursue certain crimes. Some drug possession, marijuana possession and things like that.” 

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Who is testifying Wednesday and why do they matter?
On Wednesday, two top State Department officials will testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry. 

Both William B. Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, have spoken to the committee once before, describing during private hearings a shadow foreign policy they said threatened American security. 

Now, the career diplomats will be asked by Democrats to “tell their story in a way that jumps off the page and resonates for Americans who might be skeptical of the lawmakers” who shared the content of their previous sessions, says Amber Phillips, who covers Congress for The Fix.

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‘Our tuk-tuk has beat your Land Cruisers’
More than 300 Iraqis have died and thousands more have been injured in the anti-government protests over the past month, which have been fueled by poverty, rampant corruption, unemployment and crumbling public services. 

Mustafa Salim, The Post’s Baghdad reporter, says Iraq’s once-marginalized tuk-tuk drivers — symbolic of how hard life had become for average Iraqis — have been front and center, risking their lives to rescue injured protesters and ferry them free of charge to hospitals or ambulances that cannot reach the crowds.

“Without the tuk-tuk, this uprising wouldn't last a day,” Salim says. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.