Recently, a Democratic congresswoman, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), was assaulted in her D.C. apartment building’s elevator (she was punched), and her attacker was arrested. I’m glad to see she’s alright, but her response shows ignorance of how the District actually works (boldface mine):
In an interview with “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, Craig said the attack called attention to how crime can sometimes be fueled by mental health problems and homelessness. But she also criticized the criminal justice system, saying that some of her alleged attacker’s prior arrests were not prosecuted at all in D.C.
“I got attacked by someone who the District of Columbia has not prosecuted fully over the course of almost a decade, over the course of 12 assaults before mine that morning,” she told the television station. “And so I think we have to think about how in the world can we make sure that we’re not just letting criminals out.”
It could not be learned how many times Hamlin has been arrested in D.C. or elsewhere only to have prosecutors decline to pursue the case. Cottrell said Friday that Craig was referring to the suspect’s assault cases in the D.C. area, rather than just the city itself, that she feels were not handled appropriately.
We’ll leave aside that the attacker actually has done jail time, along with her joining Republicans to oppose D.C.’s revision of our criminal code, and, instead, focus on what Rep. Craig said. The simple reality is this:
The residents of the District of Columbia have no power to appoint the federal prosecutors that oversee felony criminal prosecutions in the District. All of those prosecutors are federal prosecutors, appointed by the Department of Justice, and, as such, are unaccountable to the citizens in whose territory and over whom they make prosecutorial decisions.
This is actually a significant bone of contention, since one can have whatever policing strategies one wants (that’s a separate topic), but if the unaccountable, federal prosecutors aren’t on board, it all goes to naught. Between her joining with Republicans to
‘outn****r’ their opponents prove they’re tough on crime by voting against the criminal code revision and her misunderstanding who is responsible for failures to prosecute, we really need better Democrats than Rep. Craig.