D.C.'s Summer of Blood

By Colbert King, Washington Post - September 12, 2015

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s take on the current crime spree is that murder victims and suspects have in common previous run-ins with the law. Twenty-one of the homicide arrestees, she reported, were under supervision pending trial or on probation or parole at the time of the crime. Twenty-six of the murder victims were under court supervision. Ten individuals involved in homicides this year had previous homicide charges but were back on the streets. Six homicide victims had prior murder charges, she said. And almost half, or 45 percent, of the homicide arrestees had prior gun-related arrests. But that’s not the full picture. Lanier told me in an e-mail this week: “To be clear, the stats I gave were only for adults. We did not have access to all juvenile data.” Thus we don’t know — and equally important, the cops don’t know — if the murder victims and suspects had guns in their hands as juveniles. We — and the chief — don’t know if the victims and suspects, as juveniles, were ever under court-ordered supervision or detention. We don’t know because silos within the criminal justice system operate like fortresses, squaring off if domains are entered without invitation.

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