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DC attorney general responds to Virginia attorney general letter over crime spike

“Promoting public safety should be a bipartisan endeavor, not fodder for divisive political grandstanding” DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb wrote.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb said he hopes to partner with his fellow attorneys general in Virginia and Maryland to create a regional response to the District's gun violence problem. The offer is part of a response to a letter sent last week by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares demanding action after a Virginia woman was brutally murdered in her D.C. hotel room.

“As an attorney general, I respect AG Miyares' right to weigh in on issues that he thinks are important,” Schwalb wrote. “I share his express concern about people being safe. So, I thought that his letter was an invitation for dialogue.”

Miyares' letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council complained of the District's "inability and refusal to enforce their public safety laws and address their crime spike."  

In a letter dated April 11, Schwalb responded with his own letter to Miyares, writing “promoting public safety should be a bipartisan endeavor, not fodder for divisive political grandstanding.”

“I think unlike what we’ve seen recently from Republicans on the Hill and Congress, my hope was that as a fellow Attorney General, Attorney General Miyares was not looking to make the District of Columbia part of a political game, but instead to engage in good faith as a partner," Schwalb wrote. 

He went on to say that Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown should also be part of a regional response “to work together collaboratively on issues that would make our entire region safer.”

“Attorneys General in particular are in a position to try to work together when issues cross over state lines," Schwalb wrote. "Certainly, public safety and as I said in my letter the trafficking of illegal guns certainly does not respect the boundaries of any one state or jurisdiction.”

Miyares' letter to Bowser and the Council said District officials' inability and refusal to enforce public safety laws and address crime rates was the reason Christy Bautista was killed. Bautista was staying in a New York Avenue hotel room after coming into the city for a concert when she was stabbed 30 times in the chest, the back and the head by a man experiencing homelessness that she did not know. 

“An innocent woman lost her life to someone who should have been in jail,” Miyares wrote. "Her murder is a tragedy that should have never happened."

Schwalb said he hopes Miyares will accept the offer outlined in his letter, “to work regionally with other AG’s to address some issues in a concrete way could make people safer in the DMV and I’m hoping he will take me up on that offer.”

The AG offered two concrete ways Virginia can assist the District:  

  • Focusing on how illegal guns find their way from Virginia into D.C.
  • Understanding D.C.’s judicial system comes under Federal Control, not DC Council

READ: The full letter below

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