Another DC council member is being recalled over crime surge

A business owner in Washington, D.C., filed paperwork Tuesday to the D.C. Board of Elections in an effort to recall Ward 1 Democratic Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau in response to last year’s unprecedented surge in violent crime.

Diana Alvarez, who is spearheading the recall effort against Nadeau, said her Lit City Smoke Shop in Columbia Heights, which resides in Ward 1, has experienced three “violent” robberies amid the city’s skyrocketing crime rate. Crime in Washington, D.C., is up 39% and homicides in Ward 1, which Nadeau has overseen since 2015, have doubled since 2023, according to Crime Data DC.

“Brianne voted to defund the police by $15 million, which has left the Metropolitan Police Department dramatically undermanned,” the recall campaign’s website states. “Last year, Brianne ignored the pleas of Mayor Muriel Bowser, the MPD, and thousands of her constituents when she passed legislation that reduced penalties on violent criminals including repeat offenders convicted of gun crimes, violent assaults, and carjackings.”

Nadeau supported revamping the city’s criminal code and cutting the police budget in 2022, an effort that lowered statutory maximum penalties for some violent crimes, which was unanimously approved by the council, the Washington Post reported.  

“The dream of a safe, vibrant, and prosperous Ward 1 seems more distant with each passing day,” Alvarez, chairwoman of the recall committee, said in a statement. “I am proud to lead this effort because we deserve representation that is responsive to our needs, not in denial of them. Brianne Nadeau has fundamentally failed to take any consequential action to reduce crime. And it is time she is held accountable.” 

Nadeau provided her own comments on Tuesday when she rejected claims that she has not made an effort to curb crime in her district.  

“I’ve introduced legislation to bolster police cadet recruitment and provide additional tools to MPD to help them close more homicide cases. I am pressing the Mayor to fix the District’s failed 911 call center and unaccredited crime lab, which has not been able to process evidence needed to prosecute,” Nadeau wrote. “I have also long worked to address homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder needs, and youth disengagement — the things that evidence and common sense tell us are most effective in preventing crime before.”

While Alvarez said on Tuesday that “a handful of supportive residents and small businesses tired of Brianne’s failures that are eager to see things improve in Ward 1,” she added that her efforts to recall Nadeau were taking place before the Ward 6 recall was announced.


Nadeau is not alone in being the only D.C. council member targeted for a recall. Charles Allen, representing Ward 6, is facing a similar recall campaign for his support of defunding the police in 2020.

In order to have a special election to allow voters to decide on the recall, the campaign has to obtain signatures from 10%, or about 6,100 people, of registered voters in Nadeau’s district, where an overwhelming number of voters are registered Democrats, Newsweek reported.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Nadeau’s office for comment.

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