MPD Police Chief Peter Newsham will become the new Police Chief for Prince William County. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
While the Prince William County Board of Supervisors ecstatically announced the appointment of D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham as their new Police Chief on Nov. 25, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been fairly quiet about the current leader of the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) planned departure.
“We are happy to welcome Chief Newsham to Prince William County and the level of expertise he brings to the position,” said Prince William County Executive Chris Martino in a statement on Nov. 25.
“I am excited to join the team and look forward to making a difference in the community,” said Newsham, who according to the Prince William County website, is scheduled to begin his position around Feb. 1, 2021.
With two months before Newsham’s projected start date, Bowser said at a Nov. 30 press conference, “We’ll have a longer discussion about where we’re going with leadership with MPD at a later date.”
Despite the Mayor’s short response about Newsham’s appointment and the process of finding his replacement, some Council members are weighing in on the important challenge leaders face while working to find the next Chief of Police.
“This is a critical moment for policing, public safety, and justice across the country and right here at home. The Chief of the nation’s police force is a unique position, with city, county, state, national and even international responsibilities. But most importantly for the residents of the District of Columbia, the leadership of a Chief of Police is consequential in ways few other positions are. The nation is changing, and law enforcement in the District – and what we expect from a Chief of Police – must evolve, as well,” Council member Charles Allen said in a statement sent to the AFRO.
“Now is the time for a reform-minded leader at MPD. MPD needs someone who understands what real community policing looks like and why a public health-based approach is essential in crime prevention. The city needs a police chief who understands why people in our city have protested the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Deon Kay and Karon Hylton-Brown, someone who understands why people feel deeply that Deon Kay and Karon Hylton-Brown should still be alive,” Council member Kenyan McDuffie wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.
Deon Kay, 18, was shot and killed by D.C. Police on Sept. 2 and Karon Hylton-Brown, 20, died in October after police chased him- some say unlawfully- while he was riding a moped.
“Chief Newsham’s departure represents an opportunity to fundamentally change and improve policing in the District of Columbia. The next chief of MPD must be up to the task,” McDuffie said, closing his statement.
Activists such as those part of Black Lives Matter DC, who have been extremely critical of Newsham’s actions as leader of MPD, are happy to see Newsham go.
“DEUCES little peter,” Black Lives Matter DC tweeted, with a picture of the statement announcing his resignation.