The man accused of beating up a Minnesota Democratic congresswoman appears to have been in a Washington, D.C., jail cell as recently as two months ago, according to court records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Metropolitan Police Department announced Friday the arrest of Kendrick Hamlin, AKA Hamlin Khalil Hamlin, for assaulting Rep. Angie Craig (D., Minn.) in her apartment building’s elevator. Craig "suffered bruising, but is otherwise physically okay," a spokesman said following the attack.
Hamlin appears to be no stranger to the D.C. criminal justice system. A man by the same name was arrested last September on two charges of theft for stealing items from a Capitol Hill supermarket, which resulted in a three month saga of stints behind bars and several court appearances, records show. Court documents obtained by the Free Beacon show a man named Kendrid Hamlin also pled guilty to two counts of assaulting a police officer in December last year.
Though there are slight variations of his name in records, a spokesman for the D.C. Courts told the Free Beacon that the arrests were both of the same man. He was ultimately released from custody in December with all charges dropped following a plea agreement.
The assault on Craig comes as Washington, D.C., revamps its criminal code in order to show offenders more leniency for a litany of offenses, including gun-related felonies. D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser initially vetoed the bill to dramatically change the city’s penal code but was overridden by the city council. Just a day prior to the attack, Craig voted with Republicans to condemn the D.C. government's move.
The D.C. police declined to confirm Hamlin’s criminal background and referred the Free Beacon to the D.C. Superior Court. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
How Hamlin was allowed back onto the streets is a mystery. He was arrested on a second degree theft charge on Sept. 21, 2022, and released without bail. Almost one month later, a "notice of non compliance" was filed to the court after Hamlin failed to appear for a court hearing.
The city issued a bench warrant for Hamlin’s arrest in November. Hamlin was not served the warrant until the end of November and then held in jail and later a hospital because he required "medical attention." Hamlin was then held in jail until Dec. 15 when all charges were dropped against him as part of a plea agreement.
According to the D.C. criminal code, an assault on a police officer that causes "significant bodily injury" is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Simple assault against a police officer is punishable by up to six months in prison and is a misdemeanor.
Washington, D.C., has seen a spike in crime during the start of 2023. In the first 12 days of the new year, 38 percent more crimes were committed than during the same period in 2022.
Among the new changes to D.C.’s criminal code are reducing minimum sentences for carjackings, robberies, and gun crimes. Bowser, when vetoing the bill, said the City Council should increase, not decrease, penalties against criminals convicted of carjacking and burglary.