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Remember how we recently told you that Law Enforcement Today is going to start publicly calling out politicians, celebrities and basically anyone else that doesn’t believe in supporting law and order? Yeah… buckle up.
I never thought I’d see the day that Texas of all places takes part in a plan to give free passes to criminals. But that day has arrived, thanks to District Attorney John Creuzot.
Not that anyone reading this will be surprised, but he’s a Democrat. And yes – before everyone is triggered before me calling him out, let’s be clear – it’s Democrats that are leading the charge against the recommendations of our law enforcement officers nationwide to give free passes to bad guys.
This time, DA Creuzot has announced sweeping changes to Dallas County’s criminal justice system. Ok – we’re on board with that. But not like this.
Local police officials and union leaders are pushing back, because what he calls “reforms” could have absolutely disastrous side effects.
Why? He wants to decriminalize low-level offenses and decrease the use of “excessive probation and bail”.
Some of the harshest criticism to date came from DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa on Friday afternoon.
“I understand and appreciate that in Texas, the elected District Attorney can control which cases his office prosecutes and those offenses he chooses not to prosecute. Police officers, however, have to follow state law,” Costa said in a written statement. “I have instructed DeSoto Police Officers to continue to make arrests as necessary to protect our citizens and to help prevent crime, regardless of the initiatives implemented by the District Attorney.”
Costa isn’t going to play ball with the DA’s crap – thank God. He’s promised to attempt to prosecute any cases rejected by the DA’s office in municipal court. Why? So residents feel the Police Department is “doing all it can to keep the City of DeSoto safe and secure.”
Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata said the changes could decrease the jail population the easing the workload for police officers. Wow – great. A statistical win at the expense of letting criminal break the law freely.
*Slow golf clap.*
But Mata and Sheldon Smith, who is his counterpart with the National Black Police Association, said they weren’t that Creuzot had not sought input from local police chiefs and other “stakeholders,” like small businesses, before rolling out his plan.
Creuzot pushed back, he had met with local police and city officials, and he had yet to hear a viable solution.
“I’ve met with the police chiefs,” the district attorney said, “and I’ve met with the City of Dallas and I’ve asked them to come up with a solution. Today, I’ve got no response. So we’re going to act.”
Well gee, buddy. Did you ever think it’s because police chiefs believe that bad guys shouldn’t get a free pass? Nah, that couldn’t be it, could it?
Mata and Smith said they expect lots of problems. The worst, in their opinion? The decriminalization of theft of necessities worth up to $750.
“This will run people out of business,” Mata said. “Hundreds of dollars [in stolen goods] is not low-level theft.”
Smith said it will crush businesses.
“We know Walmart is leaving South Dallas,” Smith said. “If Walmart is leaving, how much theft do you think is happening? The little store has absolutely no chance of staying in business.”
Mata said it could also leave business owners taking a vigilante approach to protecting their livelihoods.
“Either that shop owner is going to have to take matters into his own hands,” he said. “Or he’s going to have to let $600 worth of merchandise walk out of his store. … It’s sending the wrong message.”
According to Mata, most people suffer from lower-level crimes, not violent crime. On top of that, dismissing trespassing charges would leave no place for police to take homeless offenders because shelters are often full.
Costa agreed, adding that often the homeless and mentally ill commit other offenses that Creuzot has also recommended not be prosecuted.
Repeat drug offenders? No jail time. They’d be referred for “intervention and treatment”. Of course there were no details by Creuzot on how that would happen or just who would pay for it.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said they get the idea behind it all… but said they need to make sure the new policies are constitutional.
“We are pleased that DA Creuzot continues to recognize the need to reform our bail system and the serious harm that comes from detaining people simply because they cannot afford to pay bail,” senior staff attorney Trisha Trigilio said in a written statement. “For reforms to become a reality, all stakeholders must join together, including the district judges who continue to resist voluntarily making changes to improve the system in Dallas County.”
The leaders of the police associations also want a consensus, and they would ask to sit down with Creuzot to discuss the plan and its shortcomings.
“We have a responsibility to protect the public,” Mata said.
Texas isn’t alone.
Earlier this month, Suffolk County, Massachusetts District Attorney Rachael Rollins pledged in a 65-page manifesto to stop prosecuting at least 15 crimes, including shoplifting, trespassing, drug possession, and damage to property.
Top state safety and law enforcement officials have sharply criticized the “criminal justice overhaul” planned by District Attorney Rollins, saying it could have an adverse impact on the opioid crisis and put crime victims at more significant risk.
The Boston Globe reports:
“Massachusetts Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas A. Turco III took aim at Rollins’s proposals to not prosecute certain drug possession crimes and relatively minor crimes, and her approach to pretrial release conditions such as GPS monitoring and orders to stay away from individuals or areas.”
According to Rollins, her plan is designed to “reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities”.
But others, and most people looking in from the outside of this policy letter, are seeing it as a “get out of jail free” card for people in those social and socioeconomic groups – endangering communities and giving criminals a free pass to commit common crimes.
Rollins doubled-down in her interview with the Globe:
“I’m excited that the Secretary shares my commitment to addressing and preventing the violent crime that overwhelmingly affects Black and Brown people in Suffolk County,” said Rollins. “My prosecutors distinguish between petty offenses and serious criminal conduct every single day, and I’d be happy to address his hypothetical concerns with some of our real-world experience anytime he wants to pick up the phone.”
Turco took exception to Rollins’ plan to reduce background assessments to the previous 3 years only, disregarding crimes committed before that, stating that “some of the offenders with the worst criminal histories will regularly be treated as first-time offenders.”
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One of the biggest landmines appears to be the total lack of concern for the devastating effects of drugs like fentanyl and heroin.
In the policy/manifest, there’s a rule declining to prosecute dealers of heroin, fentanyl and other illegal drugs who are charged with possession with intent to distribute, so long as the amount the defendant is caught with on a particular occasion is below a threshold representing hundreds of dollars of heroin or fentanyl.
Keep in mind that fentanyl has been used in the medical profession for quite some time, but in carefully redacted doses given via patch or injection, while having direct contact with an amount as little as a gram of fentanyl can cause severe illness or death.
In other words, there’s no true minimum threshold for the danger of this drug on the street – many a police officer or EMS worker has nearly died after coming into casual contact with fentanyl during searches and arrests, or while giving emergency medical treatment.
Several other unacceptable exceptions Turco and other officials noted was where Rollins outlined her plans to address the substance abuse crisis, saying she would “strongly consider supervised consumption sites, safe needle exchange and cleanup programs, and widespread availability of drug test strips and of the life-saving drug Naloxone.”
Also, another portion of the directive does not seek “stay away orders or electronic monitoring for people who commit dangerous offenses unless there is a threat to a specific person or property.”
Such a rule, Turco indicated, does not account for those charged with crimes against children being ordered to stay away from children or playgrounds. Nor does it account for “gang members armed with unlawful weapons” being ordered to stay away from a rival’s turf.
Turco also disliked a rule declining to prosecute possession of “20, 30, or even 40 pounds” of marijuana as a crime of possession with intent to distribute.
Two other factors have people in the law enforcement community shaking their collective heads:
First, the memo directs that if a member of Rollins’ staff sees federal immigration authorities, including officers from ICE or the Department of Homeland Security, either apprehending or questioning people who are due to appear in court about their residency status in or near the “public areas of any Suffolk County courthouse,” they are to report it to her, her first assistant, or her general counsel.
Rollins also said Suffolk prosecutors will begin to factor “into all charging and sentencing decisions the potential of immigration consequences.”
You read that right – her office would micromanage and subvert the authority of ICE.
The memo touched on other policies, including cash bail.
Her office’s official policy regarding cash bail and pretrial release will be the “presumptive recommendation of release on personal recognizance without conditions,” according to the document.
“Presumptive recommendation” and “without conditions” are two phrases that shouldn’t be combined, according to most in law enforcement, and won’t make the law enforcement community rest easy and should incite fear and anger in the area’s citizens.
One more factor is the general attitude of Rollins that incarceration should be only used as a last resort.
From this citizen’s perspective, and that of a former law enforcement officer, I can’t see anything positive at all about the proposals in this manifesto. People are opportunistic in nature – when you’re encouraged to do something good, most will.
When you’re allowed to break the law, there are many who will take those opportunities. When you’re allowed to shoplift, damage property, trespass, and move drugs around without fear of prosecution, I can only imagine that those crimes will skyrocket, and it will have a hugely negative impact on the community as a whole.
What parent would want their kids hanging out downtown when you have an amateur version of “The Purge” occurring in your town?
What company would want to move or expand a business there?
What happens to property values and tax income when you’ve got a criminal free-for-all going on, all in the name of making exceptions for the very people who commit crimes the most?
There’s a war underway in America. But this one is against law abiding citizens… the men and women who uphold those laws… and the law of the land itself.
Tell us what you think in the comments below.