Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Seattle Police Kill Suspected Cop Killer

The eagle-eyed police officer who saw something suspicious at a vehicle stop is a hero. Maurice Clemmons was found in the vicinity of a stolen car and when a police officer requested he show his hands, Clemmons did not comply.
The man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone patrolman investigating a stolen car early Tuesday. Four people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt.

Maurice Clemmons was carrying a handgun he took from one of the dead officers when a Seattle policeman recognized him near a stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.

The officer had approached the car, then detected movement behind him, saw Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.

"He wouldn't stop," Pugel said. "The officer fired several rounds, took the person into custody."

Clemmons had a serious gunshot wound from one of the four officers killed in the coffee-shop shooting. He has since died from his injuries, Pugel said.
The officer was investigating a stolen vehicle report. Clemmons was carrying a weapon taken from one of the officers he murdered. He also had a gunshot wound in the torso from return fire by one of the four officers killed at the coffee shop in Lakeland.

It's a bittersweet day for the Seattle area law enforcement agencies. They can rest a bit easier knowing that a cop killer is no longer in their midst, but they have to deal with the ramifications of the murder of four of their fellow officers in the line of duty.

At the same time, investigations continue into others who apparently provided Clemmons with assistance. Four people are in custody, including relatives, and more arrests are likely.

Just as it should, the clemency record of Mike Huckabee is coming under closer scrutiny. He commuted nearly twice as many sentences in his tenure as Arkansas governor than the three previous governors combined.
On Monday, Huckabee said he takes responsibility for making Clemmons eligible for parole in 2000, and called the case a failure of the justice systems in Arkansas and Washington. Huckabee cited the length of Clemmons' sentence — 108 years — and a state judge's recommendation that it be reduced as factors in his decision.

"If I could have known nine years ago that this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would have never granted a commutation. It's sickening," Huckabee said on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."

Clemmons was among 1,033 people who were pardoned or had their sentences reduced during Huckabee's 10 1/2 years as governor. Bill Clinton, Frank White and Jim Guy Tucker granted 507 clemencies in the 17 1/2 years they served. Beebe, Huckabee's Democratic successor, has issued 273 commutations and pardons since taking office in January 2007 — all but one of them were pardons after the completion of the inmates' prison terms.

Huckabee's role in gaining the release of a convicted rapist, Wayne DuMond, was the subject of an attack ad during his presidential run. While Huckabee's predecessor, Tucker, reduced DuMond's sentence making him eligible for parole, Huckabee took steps almost immediately after taking office to win DuMond's release.

Two members of the state parole board said Huckabee pressured them to show DuMond mercy, while Huckabee publicly questioned whether DuMond was guilty of the rape of a teenage girl. During the presidential primaries, a conservative group aired television commercials in South Carolina featuring the mother of Carol Sue Shields, whom DuMond killed in 2000 after his release.
And while he claims that he wouldn't have made the same choice had he known what would have happened in the Clemmons case, his PAC website continues to cast blame on others.

Watch for the inevitable scrutiny for the police officer who ultimately killed Clemmons. He will be put through the ringer to justify his actions. Also, watch for an all too likely wrongful death lawsuit from Clemmons' family, even though Clemmons acted irrationally and violent at every opportunity.

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