A Washington, D.C., councilmember is facing a recall effort for supporting leftist-backed criminal justice policies and cuts to the police department’s budget amid a spike in crime, Axios reported Wednesday.
Former federal government worker Jennifer Squires launched a recall effort against Democratic Councilman Charles Allen after previously voting for him. Allen has served as a councilmember since 2015, representing Ward 6, which encompasses Capitol Hill, the Wharf, and the United States Capitol Complex.
Squires claims that Allen’s endorsement of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 was a regressive step in mitigating crime. The controversial legislation, which aimed to reduce sentences for several felony crimes, was unanimously passed by the city council in November 2022.
Allen previously claimed that mandatory minimum sentences “frequently just tie the hands of judges and juries, and they treat all victims as if they were the same,” WUSA reported.
Democratic supporters of sweeping criminal justice reform, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, called the bill a “modernizing and overhauling of the District’s criminal laws.” Congress later blocked the legislation.
Squires stated that the RCCA was “going in the wrong direction.”
Allen’s unwavering support of left-leaning criminal justice reforms has repeatedly landed him in hot water while D.C. crime is on the rise. In 2020, Allen called for a $15 million cut to the Metropolitan Police Department’s proposed budget following the George Floyd protests.
The District of Columbia closed out 2023 with 26 homicides, marking its deadliest year since 1997, the Washington Post reported.
“I don’t think Mr. Allen gets it,” Squires told Axios, calling the district’s crime rate “shocking.” She noted that she plans to begin fundraising soon for the recall effort.
Squires will need to gather approximately 7,500 signatures, equivalent to 10% of registered Ward 6 voters. If successful, the Board of Elections would hold a special election to allow voters to decide whether to replace Allen. A recall election has never been held for a councilmember, Axios reported.
The District of Columbia Police Union has also been an outspoken critic of the RCCA but, at this time, has not committed to fundraising for the recall effort against Allen. Gregg Pemberton with the police union stated, “[I]t’s certainly something our executive board will consider if the effort progresses.”
In a statement to Axios, Allen said, “I never take the support of my neighbors for granted, but I also know I share their values and provide leadership they’re proud of.”
Allen noted that he “always puts constituent services and finding ways to build community first.” He stated that he won his unopposed 2022 re-election campaign with more than 90% of the vote.
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