HUCKABEE COMMUTED 95-YEAR SENTENCE OF MAN SOUGHT IN COP SHOOTINGS
Posted by Andrew Roman on November 30, 2009
A 37-year old man with a lengthy criminal record is wanted in connection with the brutal “ambush” murders of four police officers yesterday in a Lakewood, Washington coffee shop.
As of early this morning, blogs and news sites across the spectrum are replete with coverage of this story and the search for the man, Maurice Clemmons.
Nothing is certain yet, but assuming Clemmons did commit this horrific act, how on God’s green earth was he ever afforded the opportunity to do so? This is a man with at least thirteen felony convictions in two states. How can it be that a man with a current pending charge of second-degree rape of a child – complimented by a history of burglary, theft of property, possessing a handgun on school property, aggravated robbery, punching a sheriff’s deputy in the face, and a host of other bizarre and erratic actions – could be given a chance to murder these innocent human beings? What about his long history of criminality was unclear to those who let him free?
Apart from the senseless killings of four slain police officers, the story that really seems to be making the rounds this morning is the fact that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee once commuted a 95-year prison sentence of Clemmons.
From the Seattle Times:
Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.
“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.
Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, issued a statement tonight calling the slaying of the police officers “a horrible and tragic event.”
If Clemmons is found responsible, “it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State,” Huckabee said.
He added that Clemmons’ release from prison had been reviewed and approved by the Arkansas parole board.
This, of course, is the point where I make my obligatory reference to Willie Horton and former Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis. I won’t harp on it, however, seeing as everyone else seems to be. I’ll leave it to far better wordsmiths than I.
Still, for what it’s worth, as insignificant as it is compared to the murder of four police officers, it goes without saying that this will effectively end Huckabee’s chances at any sort of viable political future. He was already known for his propensity to grant violent criminals clemency – something I wrote about on more than several occassions during the presidential campaign season.
This one will certainly serve as Huckabee’s personal political Waterloo.
But this travesty of justice isn’t just about him by any means.
The truth of the matter is, alot of people along the chain were complicit in allowing this example of human excrement to walk around.
Meanwhile, the hunt for Clemmons goes on.
From Fox News:
Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told reporters that Maurice Clemmons, 37, was believed to have been in the area around the time of the shooting, but declined to say what evidence might link him to the shooting.
Troyer said the gunman entered the coffee house and walked toward the counter as if to place an order. A barista saw a gun when the man opened his jacket and fled out the back door. The man then turned and opened fire on the officers as they sat working on their laptops
Troyer said the attack was clearly targeted at the officers, not a robbery gone bad.
“This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers,” he said. “There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform.”
Troyer said the officers were catching up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts when they were attacked at 8:15 a.m.
The four murdered police officers were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Ronald Owens, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40; and Officer Greg Richards 42.