Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., is calling for serious action against the rising crime crisis and for prosecution of repeat offenses after she was reportedly assaulted by a man who had a rap sheet full of violent crimes.
"I got attacked by someone who the District of Columbia has not prosecuted fully over the course of almost a decade, over the course of 12 assaults before mine that morning," Craig told CBS News in an interview. "And so I think we have to think about how in the world can we make sure that we’re not just letting criminals out."
A man believed to be homeless, Kendrid Hamlin, was standing in the lobby of Craig's D.C. apartment complex on Thursday when he allegedly followed her to an elevator and asked to go inside her apartment. When she refused, he reportedly punched her in the chin and grabbed her neck, but she was able escape to safety after throwing her cup of hot coffee on him.
"That was the moment that fight or flight kicked in," she said.
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Before attacking Craig, Hamlin had been arrested for indecent exposure, assaulting a police officer, shoplifting, and breaking and entering.
Despite the lengthy record, the 26-year-old repeat offender remained a free man even after reportedly 12 known assaults before Craig.
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"I mean, it wasn’t even in every instance that he got 10 days or 30 days. Many times, the charges were completely dropped before any justice was achieved at all," she added. "I was assault number 13 on his record," the Democratic congresswoman said. "And I'm gonna do everything in my power to make sure there's not a 14, a 15, a 20."
"If you throw somebody in jail for 10 days and think, 'There's your punishment, and we're gonna let you right back on the street,' what the hell do you think's gonna happen?" she said.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said that Hamlin was arrested and charged with simple assault on Thursday.
"We have to get these repeat offenders off the streets. We also have got to figure out how we get people the mental health and addiction help that they need because these people are getting back out and just recommitting the same crimes over and over and over again," Craig said.
Crime is currently up 22% from last year in the District of Columbia, according to reports from the MPD.
Despite the city's crime crisis, the District of Columbia City Council voted in January to force through revisions of the district's criminal code in an effort to soften penalties on violent crimes and reduce penalties, even for those accused of violent crimes like murder or sexual assault.