The D.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with nearly 20 other civil rights groups, pressed D.C. candidates on matters of criminal justice reform last week at a candidates’ forum.
The ACLU and members of HIPS, No Justice No Pride, Stop Police Terror Project, Black Lives Matter, Trans Fund United and other groups gathered Wednesday, May 30 at First Congregational United Church of Christ to address what they said is a tipping point in the city’s “broken criminal justice system.”
The #ReformDCJustice forum was inspired by recent events such as the police-related deaths of Jeffery Price and D’Quan Young and the use of force by Metro Transit Police on a young woman at the Fort Totten Metro station. The ACLU charged that discrimination, violence and racial disparities that created inequality existed within the District’s criminal justice system and challenged the candidates to prioritize reform of the system.
Participating candidates included Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and challenger Ed Lazere, and Marcus Goodwin and Jerimiah Lowery, two contenders for the at-large council seat currently held by Anita Bonds, who was not present.
Candidates agreed on most issues, including decriminalizing fare evasion, decriminalizing sex work in the city, the need to address biased policing and preventing federal immigration agencies from having access to D.C. records that could indicate immigration status.
No candidate was endorsed at the forum.