WASHINGTON - The Washington Post is stirring things up on social media after the editorial board weighed in on controversial changes to D.C.'s crime code.
FOX 5's chief legal correspondent Katie Barlow reports that the Washington Post editorial board said D.C.'s new crime bill could make the city "more dangerous" if the D.C. Council overrides the mayor's veto, which is up for a vote Tuesday.
Plenty agree with the board's take in the wake of recent crime in the district. But others pointed out on social media that the editorial board authors appear to be all white.
D.C.'s black population is 45.8% according to recent census data. Black people also make up over 90% of the city's incarcerated population according to the department of corrections.
The post's editorial board acknowledges the argument that African Americans are disproportionately convicted of violent crimes but argues that African Americans are also disproportionately the victims of the same crimes.
Patrice Sulton with the D.C. Justice Lab who served on the criminal code reform commission agrees with the Post's critics that the media should include more diverse voices when talking about criminal justice reform, but she says framing the new code as a racial justice issue is the wrong way to think about it.
"I think that it's been overblown to the discussion about how this will impact Black people who are incarcerated, how this will impact Black people who are victims of crime when really this is about good governance and having statutes that are enforceable. That benefits everyone in this city and that's why the vast majority of residents who were polled about this really wanted to see this happen," Sulton said.
Ward 5 council member Zachary Parker sees the crime bill as a racial justice issue tweeting Monday that he will vote to override the mayor's veto to make the code more equitable and prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration.
We reached out to the post for comment but have not yet heard back. The D.C. Council is scheduled to vote during their legislative meeting that begins at noon Tuesday.