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“This is what we call a supply side strategy to managing gun violence, right? Gun control laws, gun interdiction, gun enforcement. But D.C. Is not funding the demand side enough, which is, ‘What are we doing to work with young people so that they don’t choose to pick up guns in the first place?’” Vitale said. “Anyone Black in D.C. Already knows what’s going on. I think it’s pretty clear that that they just shouldn’t be doing the vast majority of the stops and a huge amount of them are pretextual.”
Sulton told The Appeal that “the message being sent to these officers is they are to hunt guns and drugs,” and that D.C. Is “trying to solve violence with violence” and “trauma with trauma.”
“We can’t afford to keep doing this,” Sulton said.
A report released this month by the DC Police Reform Commission, of which Sulton is a member, makes numerous police recommendations policy including the immediate suspension of GRU and similar specialized units “unless and until the Department produces data showing they address violent and otherwise serious crime more effectively than ordinary patrol units.”
Crudup attorney Bruckheim said that unlike Crudup and the other class action clients, most arrestees in gun cases plead out, even when their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights have been violated. When they do not enter a guilty plea or their charges are dismissed, the weapons seizure has already been memorialized in police department data as successful.
“At the end of the day, if they find a gun, they figure, ‘You know what, we got a gun off the street. So who cares if we violated someone’s rights,’” Bruckheim said. “But the fact is the Constitution of the United States is not limited by geography. I understand how some people will say, ‘What’s the big deal? At the end of the day, they recovered contraband, the city’s a little safer and so on.’ But you can’t go about it by violating the rights of citizens, number one. No matter what.”