Monday, November 30, 2009


We here in the Northwest are generally pretty proud of most of our local law enforcement folks. When one of them is shot in the line of duty, everyone gets pretty upset.

We're pissed as hell right now. Some of us at Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas.

Four police officers in the Lakewood area of Tacoma were slain today in a coffee shop. A man came in to the shop, was sitting at the counter, and suddenly turned and opened fire on the four officers in what has been described as an assassination. Another officer fought with him, shooting him non-fatally, but getting shot in the process. As of this time today, he has not been found. This suspect's name is Maurice Clemmons. He is still classified as a suspect, but I would guess that if he doesn't turn himself in, he can be looking forward to death in some sort of shootout. As most cops will tell you, cop-killer suspects have a much greater life expectancy if they turn themselves in. Putting yourself at a patrol cop's "mercy" after executing four of them (even if you're only a suspect) is considered, ahem, foolish.

Why is this relevant to Mike Huckabee? Well, it turns out that he paroled this guy back in Arkansas. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but the suspect has recently been in court in Washington (he moved here) for both violent offenses and child sexual abuse. So there's going to be plenty of blame to share. But Huckabee paroled another guy, Wayne Dumond, who did far less after he got out of prison. And it pretty much scuttled Huckabee's ever gaining the presidency. After Mr. Clemmons, Huckabee's gonna have a lot of esplainin' to do.

Now we have another case, where someone appealed to Huckabee's Christian teachings, which, while noble, have nothing whatever to do with whether someone is reformed. If it is known that by appealing to the Governor's Christian feelings in order to get an early parole (Clemmons was due to be released in the year 2015 or so), you can bet every lifer is going to figure out a way to work Jesus Christ in to his parole statement. A little naiive, perhaps.


Maurice Clemmons is dead, shot by a lone patrol cop, who claims the suspect refused to remove his hands from his pockets when the officer demanded it (several times). In other words, I told him to reassure me he wasn't armed, he wouldn't, and he kept circling towards me. So I shot him dead. With a few bullets.

While I can't blame the police officer for trying to protect himself, this is a story I've heard before. It is also possible that Clemmons was looking to suicide by cop. We can't know. The only people who know for certain what happened are the police officer and the dead man. Obviously, the dead man ain't talking. If you shoot a guy in the leg (which policemen are NOT trained to do in such situations - it's always kill or be killed), you can at least slow him down if he's thinking about shooting you. Maybe.

I don't know. I hope that there is enough evidence to prove for a certainty that Maurice Clemmons was the shooter. I hope that the fact that he was shot does not end the investigation. If we take it as a given that everyone who gets their mugshot on TV is guilty, we're in trouble.

Not sure how to feel about this one. If Clemmons was guilty then he deserved life in prison. If he was nuts then he deserved life in a mental institution. If he's innocent...


fred said...

If you're innocent, you show your goddamned hands. I just wish he'd lived just so we'd have the certainty of a confession and fair trial.

stEn said...

I agree, Fred. I just don't know for certain that's what heppened. Weonly have the cop's word for it. After reading David Simon's excellent book, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets", you get a sense that a suspected cop-killer has a very tiny life-expectancy if he doesn't turn himself in. And that's the rub of this: he was a suspect, not a convicted felon.

Questions, questions, questions...