The hearing, billed as the "Overdue Oversight of the Capital City: Part II," was the second time this spring the Republican-led committee dug into local D.C. issues involving crime.
"At this committee’s March 29 hearing, members of the D.C. Council refused to acknowledge the reality. D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson went as far as to say there was not a crime crisis in D.C. But the numbers speak for themselves," said Committee Chair, Rep. James Comer.
Afterward, the District’s non-voting congresswoman was left stunned.
"I was surprised but elated. And actually, this hearing was, well, less contentious than I thought it would be," said D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton.
Many people were anticipating a showdown between the Democratic mayor and GOP committee members. However, the over 3-hour hearing largely focused on the U.S. Attorney for D.C. and his impacts on crime in the District.
Many Republicans focused on The Washington Post article that revealed the U.S. Attorney for D.C. did not prosecute 67% of arrests last year. Graves tried to argue that 67% figure included data from before he got into office and that the majority of declinations were drug misdemeanor offenses.
"Bro, you need to do your job," said U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said she would seek Articles of Impeachment against Graves.
Because Washington D.C. is not a state, the federal government is responsible for prosecuting adult crimes. The U.S. Attorney for D.C. is a President Biden appointee.
D.C. Police stats ahead of Tuesday’s hearing show District crime is up 27%.
FOX 5 is usually asking Mayor Bowser the tough questions on D.C. crime.
"I think everybody should answer questions and I think, you know, sometimes they’re tough and sometimes you know we don’t always want to talk all the time about it, I’ll give you that. But residents --I work for the residents of D.C. they have a right to ask me questions," Bowser said. "They have a right to know what my strategies are. They also have a right to know if I think we’ve fallen short in any regard. They have a right to know if I think we need something that I think we don’t have. I haven’t seen the same willingness in all of our partners and I think that’s important…"
The mayor mentioned how not prosecuting misdemeanors creates a sense of lawlessness. She would not directly say Tuesday whether closing schools for the amount of time D.C. did during the pandemic led to the rise in juvenile crime.
She was also pressed on the school system's low-performance scores in math and reading.
A large portion of the hearing involved the mayor and her cabinet using the platform to make a strong argument for D.C. Statehood, even though the matter was shot down by some committee members.
The Democratic committee supported noted how it’s the federal government that is both responsible for the prosecution, detention, and release of adults in D.C.’s criminal justice system.
When asked whether D.C. leaders are unable to get a handle on crime until the federal government steps in, Mayor Bowser responded, "I think the crime issue, not just for us, but nationally is a complicated one. We see spikes in crime all over our country. We see we’re awash with guns. And we need to be very focused in our system, making sure the entire ecosystem is opened up at work."
"While I may not have a direct line of authority to all the hands of the ecosystem, I raise my hand and pledge to the people of D.C. that we’re going to be safe," the mayor added.
U.S. Attorney Graves was asked for data on how many people who were not prosecuted for a misdemeanor went on to commit a homicide. He could not answer for sure and said he would get back to the committee.
The committee chair vowed to work with the District and told the room he had met with Mayor Bowser the week before the hearing.
Some across-the-aisle gestures included a proposal to possibly work with D.C. on funding a new jail and getting more prosecutors to the District.
READ Bowser’s testimony and a letter from the D.C. Police Union below: