A brazen shooting in a trendy part of Washington, DC, that wounded two men and sent restaurant patrons and bystanders scrambling for safety prompted an epic rant from the city’s fed-up top cop on Friday.
During a visit to the scene of the crime, Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee declared that, “the justice system that we have right now, it is not functioning the way that it should,” adding, “I’m mad as hell about this.”
“I’m saying to you, enough is enough,” Contee fumed during his seven-minute diatribe.
Contee said that “most of the communities I’ve talked to have no clue what happens with these cases — they don’t.
“But I’m gonna tell you the truth,” he said. “The real issue is we have a vicious cycle of bad actors who do things, no accountability, and they end up back in [the] community.”
“But you cannot coddle violent criminals,” Contee added. “You cannot.”
“They might not want a job. They might not. They might not need services,” he said.
“What they may require is to be off of our streets because they’re making it unsafe for us. And if that’s what it requires, then that’s what it requires. And we have to own it. We have to own it. Because if not, we see more of this.”
Contee’s remarks were hailed by the NYPD’s largest union, which said he was “echoing the thoughts of cops across this country.”
“We won’t turn the tide of violence until we start holding criminals accountable again,” the Police Benevolent Association tweeted.
The incident that sparked Contee’s rage took place shortly around 8:20 p.m. Thursday on 14th St. NW near Riggs St. NW in the bustling Logan Circle neighborhood of the nation’s capital.
It also came five days after a shooting outside Nationals Park injured three people and caused chaos inside the baseball stadium, where players fled the field and fans took cover under their seats.
Video clips of Thursday’s shooting show an unidentified gunman in a yellow hoodie chasing someone and firing shots before hopping in the passenger seat of a waiting black sedan and being driven away.
One of the victims is believed to have been targeted by the shooter and the second may have been an innocent bystander.
Contee said cops happened to be making two unrelated gun busts nearby and were on the scene “within five seconds.”
“It speaks to the brazenness of the criminals that are in these communities that we’re dealing with,” he added.
Contee said that “the recidivism rate for violent offenders is the highest that we see anywhere — 87 percent, I think — in that area.”
“I guarantee you, when we lock up whoever did this, they will be no stranger to us. I promise you that,” he said.
Contee also noted that he began his 30-year career as a beat cop in that district, adding, “I like coming to 14th Street.”
“I like going to Chicken and Whiskey and getting my chicken out of there. And my plantain and everything — my rice, my crab, right?” he said.
“I love that! And I don’t want to be afraid for my wife to go there because some knucklehead in [the] community decided to pull out a gun and fired at 8:20 in the evening,” he said. “That is unacceptable.”