WASHINGTON - Community members are calling out D.C. leaders for not doing enough to protect children and their neighborhood from gun violence as well as their response to the deadly shooting of 10-year-old Makiyah Wilson outside of her home in Northeast D.C.
Some have described Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham's response as passive and lethargic, and that Wards 7 and 8 deserve more of a commitment.
"There has been a response that is almost pandered," said ANC commissioner Tyrell Holcomb. "To read a report in the Washington Post where the mayor made a commitment to Wards 7 and 8 that she would pay attention in a manner in which no other mayor had ever done, and then to say to us give me one more time, I'll get it right. You had the opportunity now and you're not getting it right."
In response to this criticism, D.C. Police Assistant Chief of Patrol Services South Chanel Dickerson told FOX 5 that the police do not take Makiyah's murder lightly.
"I visited the people that live in the Clay Terrace community," Dickerson said. "One thing that was disturbing to me was a lot of the residents felt like it was normal for gun violence in their neighborhood. It was disturbing for me because I want every resident in the District of Columbia to know that they deserve to live in a community free of gun violence. The mayor's initiative supports this, Chief Newsham's initiative supports this.
"We have been out in the community doing door knocks asking for information. MPD does not take this incident lightly. The mayor does not take this incident lightly. We are devastated. We are mourning with the community and the family, and we would do everything that we can to bring the people responsible for Makiyah's death to justice."
Dickerson told FOX 5 that they have recovered evidence from the car used in the shooting, which was recovered in Prince George's County, Maryland on Wednesday. Police have determined that the vehicle was carjacked on July 1.
Dickerson said they are pursuing all tips and are doing everything they can to find the suspects involved in Makiyah's killing.
"We are human. We are human beings. Just because we are police officers - that's a profession. So we are human beings," said Dickerson. "This case is very troubling for me and for a lot of my colleagues. We are up day and night following all tips, all leads on the ground working to solve this case. It's disheartening to hear that the community does not trust city leaders, that a 10-year-old would die in Washington D.C. and we would take it lightly.
"That is very disheartening for me and I am committed to working with the community in Ward 7 and 8 because I am the patrol chief of that area. I have to change that narrative. We care about them. I want them to know that they deserve to live in a community free of gun violence, but we cannot do this job without them. We need them to come forward and step up and demand more as well."
Dickerson emphasized that police are making a concerted effort to get illegal weapons off the street to curb gun violence in the city.
"This situation, this incident is heartbreaking and Mayor Bowser and Chief Newsham have committed to removing illegal firearms from the street," she said. "At every press conference, we urge the public to come forward and to get involved. The mayor supports MPD's strategies in removing illegal firearms. We also offer a [$2,500] reward for people that are turning in or someone that has illegal firearms."
On Friday, D.C. police posted a video on their Twitter and Facebook accounts showing some officers taking part of the "In My Feelings Challege" or "Shiggy Challenge" that have taken over social media. The video shows some D.C. police officers dancing to Drake's hit song from his newly-released album. While reaction to the video has been mainly positive, there are some who have questioned whether this was the appropriate time to post this video just days following the death of Makiyah Wilson.
"I haven't seen the video, but the video by no means suggests that we are not taking this case seriously," said Dickerson. "I apologize to the community in reference to the release of the video, but I stand behind my decision and my comment that I made earlier that we are committed to solving Makiyah's murder."