Representative moves to thwart potential federalization of DC police

D.C.’s lone representative is moving to block the president from federalizing D.C. police.

District officials pushed back against such a move during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests.

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It’s a little-known presidential power – but it’s existed for nearly 50 years.

And now, on the heels of her successful House vote on D.C. statehood, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is zeroing in on the president’s D.C. police powers with one goal in mind.

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“Don’t think he won’t try. He has tried for federalize the DC Police so I’ve been trying to get this ancient bill removed because when our ‘home rule act’ was passed it remained in there to be used for emergency purposes. He tried to use it and got talked out of it again,” Holmes Norton said.

At the height of the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, District government resisted the White House’s effort to federalize D.C. police officers.

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President Trump has criticized Mayor Muriel Bowser on Twitter, and posted that “the D.C. police are not doing their job.”

The 1973 D.C. Home Rule Act gives the president the power to take emergency control of the police for federal purposes.

Meanwhile, Mayor Muriel Bowser blasted the D.C. council on Wednesday for police funding cuts, warning that it will make the District less safe.

"It appears to me to be a shell game, that they're moving dollars around from this to that, and we're going to have to dig into it but it also appears that the amount of the cuts will mean that our force strength will go down in the upcoming year at two levels to what it was in the 1990's,” the mayor said.

Police officials have declined to comment.

Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen also introduced a Senate bill to block the president from taking control of D.C. police.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t bring the bill up for a vote.