WASHINGTON - D.C. residents are demanding for the killings to end as half of the city's homicides in 2018 so far have happened east of the Anacostia River. As the crime ramps up, Regis Bryant, the police commander of the city's most violent district, has been yanked from his position.
"We can't afford that," said Ward 8 resident Regina Pixley. "Look at the shootings we had today. A mother shot in the back or stomach trying to cover her child. Come on now. We need our commander back here."
The majority of the residents here see Bryant as a scapegoat. He has 26 years of experience with D.C. police and is well-liked by the community and police officers.
Ward 8 community leaders said they met with D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham in a closed-door meeting at police headquarters in Northwest D.C. on Thursday. They said they have asked Newsham to reinstate Bryant back to his old position. The police chief said that the demotion would be temporarily only if they got the support from the community.
On Thursday, the first day since Bryant's demotion, there was a triple shooting just after noon in the 3200 block of 22nd Street in Southeast D.C.
A few hours later, a mother walking her child was shot in the 2400 block of Hartford Street just before 3 p.m.
"I think it was a very unfair, quick decision that should not have been made - demoting someone who has earned the position," said ANC commissioner Paul Trantham.
News of Bryant's demotion reverberated through the streets. Ironically, Bryant is D.C. police's Commander of the Year. His accolades and awards still line the walls of the Seventh District.
"I'm asking for it to be a temporary situation," said D.C. Police Union chairman Stephen Bigelow. "I'm not really sure why they did it, but I think it speaks of his character when you look that we are the union, I represent police officers - and I am up here speaking about a command official … I know the type of leader he is, I know the man that he is, I know the caliber of man that he is and I respect him. I just disagree with the decision."
Of the four people shot on Thursday in Ward 8, two of them suffered serious injuries.
The D.C. Police Union said it has not endorsed D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for her re-election.