Keeping Our Kids Safe from Gun Violence
Hello District Neighbors,
For the past eight years, I have had the honor of serving as the District of Columbia’s first elected and independent Attorney General. That means I have been the chief prosecutor of young people who commit crimes in the District. In this role, I have met with countless young people—young people who have hurt others, young people who have been hurt by crime, and young people who are begging for an end to this cycle of violence. My conversations with these young people have made one thing abundantly clear: we are failing our children.
We often ask kids in our juvenile justice system what they want to be when they grow up and far too often, we hear the heartbreaking answer that they just want to live past the age of 18. When our children are picking up guns, carrying guns and shooting, when they think the streets hold greater potential than the classrooms, and when they are scared to walk outside for fear of flying bullets, it is clear we—the adults—are doing something wrong.
Getting guns off our streets is one of the most urgent steps we can take to respond to this crisis of gun violence. At the Office of the Attorney General, we’ve been working hard to enforce and defend the District’s gun laws. We’re cracking down on ghost guns by going after the manufacturers that profit from these illegal, deadly weapons. Just a few months ago, we won a $4 million court judgement against Polymer80, a leading manufacturer of ghost guns in DC. But while getting guns off the street is necessary, we cannot achieve a safer city without addressing the underlying circumstances that lead people to pick up guns in the first place.
As I prepare to leave office at the end of the year, I have been reflecting on the lessons of the past eight years and what is most clear to me is that the best thing we can do as a city is invest in our kids. We need to forge connections with them that last longer than their interaction with the justice system, and we need to recognize their achievements. Kids need to feel safe and engaged in school or vocational pathways to adulthood. They need to be able to access positive peer groups through engaging after-school activities. We need to make sure kids have mental health resources, and real social alternatives to going down the wrong path.
In my office, we’re using every tool at our disposal to reach kids before crimes occur. Read more about our holistic efforts to improve public safety in addition to prosecution, here.
Standing Up for DC Workers, From Amazon Drivers to Construction Workers
The District has some of the strongest workers’ rights and consumer protection laws in the nation. That means my office has many tools available to hold accountable employers who fail to pay their workers, and to ensure that companies that claim to pass along tips to workers actually do.
This week, we sued Amazon for stealing tips from delivery drivers through a deceptive, illegal scheme that made consumers think they were increasing drivers’ pay when Amazon was actually diverting tips to reduce its own labor costs and increase profits. We also announced two settlements that will put money back in workers' pockets:
- Manganaro, a construction company that specialized in drywall installation will pay $345,000 in restitution to workers who were misclassified and denied benefits and pay.
- Nomadic LLC, a property management and maintenance company, will pay $131,061.18 to 78 employees who were denied overtime wages and will shape up their practices.
We Sued SmileDirectClub for Silencing Harmed DC Consumers
This week, my office sued SmileDirectClub, an online orthodontics company, for requiring DC consumers who were injured—sometimes permanently—or otherwise dissatisfied to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to receive promised refunds. Their aggressive scheme barred consumers from filing complaints with government agencies or law enforcement and distorted online reviews, misleading other consumers. These consumers were promised perfect smiles, but many suffered pain or didn’t see improvements. We're standing up for them.