WASHINGTON — Zyair Bradley was 20 years old. He loved football and boxing, music, dancing and playing jokes on people. He had a job and “a million friends.” He was a son, a protective big brother and his mother’s “beautiful angel.” He was also one of 18 people to have been murdered in the District of Columbia just this month.
As homicides across the country’s most populated cities declined overall in 2018, Washington, D.C. saw an increase of almost 42 percent in its murder rate, which experts saywill continue to trend upwards in 2019. The D.C. Chief of Police warned that easing penalties would make the District less safe.
“Repeat offenders who have committed gun crimes will be back on the street sooner,” wrote Chief Peter Newsham in an editorial that ran in The Washington Post last summer. “Less-stringent penalties embolden criminals, demoralize law enforcement and enable violent offenders to return more quickly to terrorizing the very communities who are calling out to the government for help.”
For law enforcement officers, it’s frustrating. For mothers like India Bradley, it’s devastating.