In the wake of Thursday evening's shooting in downtown Washington DC, Washington DC police chief Robert Contee made an urgent plea on Friday afternoon to get these violent criminals off of DC streets.
Speaking on the attack, Contee called it "unacceptable in any community."
Contee pointed out that shootings like that which occurred at 14th Street and Riggs Street NW, have been occurring all over the city.
"Last year we had over 922 people shot in our city. Last year. 198 people murdered in our city last year. This should be shocking to the conscience of every person in our city. I don't care where you live, it has the attention that it is gotten now because it's happened where it happened," said Contee.
"There are too many guns in our city, in Washington DC," said Contee. He goes on to explain that officers had recovered two guns in the same area the same evening as the shooting.
"That's unacceptable," said Contee. "It speaks to the brazenness of the criminals that are in these communities. That what we deal with."
Contee goes on to outline the current reality of the justice system in Washington DC.
"The justice system we have right now is not functioning the way that it should. The courts are not open. That is a fact. Barely open," said Contee. He added that cases from 2020 that include violent criminals have not been disposed of. These criminals, he said, are back in these communities, allowed to cause more harm.
"Are the things happening that needs to happen when we do place individuals under arrest?" asked Contee. "What happens with that case when it goes through the system?"
"Do we expect to see them in the neighborhood in three weeks? And if we do, are we saying that that's acceptable?" Contee continued.
"We have a vicious cycle of bad actors who do things with no accountability, and they end up back in communities," said Contee, who added that when they lock up the shooter "they will be no stranger" to police.
Contee urged those listening to "reclaim this community," with hopes that the action "reverberates through this city."
He goes on to state that the reaction and response to this shooting should be happening with all shootings happening across the city.
"This is what the response should look like. It should look like this," said Contee, referring to the crowd listening. "There are a lot of corners that I go to after a murder has occurred, and it's just me. It's just the officers.
"This was real for some people, but it has been happening in communities all across our city," said Contee. "And I'm saying to you, enough is enough."
Contee, who stated that he has been an officer in the city for over 30 years, said that despite the need to help people, "you cannot coddle violent criminals."
"You cannot treat violent criminals who are out here making communities unsafe for you, for your loved ones, for me, for my loved ones. They might not want a job, they might not. They might not need services," said Contee. "What they may require is to be off of our streets because they're making it unsafe for us."
"If that's what it requires then that's what it requires. And we have to own that… because if not, we see more of this in our communities," said Contee, adding that when people are shot, people are outraged, but he is outraged every time.