Democrats push bill to reduce penalties for drive-by shootings, calling it ‘racial equity’(op-ed)

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OLYMPIA, WA – Just when you thought Democrats could not go any crazier than what has been witnessed in 2021, the year 2022 just ordered up some nuts.

In a moment of shear stupidity, Washington state Democrats have introduced a bill to go easy on drive-by murders in the name of racial equity.

House Bill 1692 explicitly states in its first line:

“An act relating to promoting racial equity in the criminal legal system by eliminating drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.”

Setting aside the obvious racism in that beginning sentence, which assumes black people are driving around shooting people, let’s keep peeling away at the shell covering these nuts.

The bill was filed on Dec. 23 by Representatives Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, and David Hackney, D-Tukwila, ahead of the state’s 2022 60-day legislative session that begins Jan. 10.

Under current law, criminals found guilty of first-degree murder face a maximum sentence of life without parole. These crimes are usually pre-meditated, though a murder that shows extreme indifference to human life also qualifies.

Due to sentencing guidelines, first degree murder charges usually result in a sentence of 20-30 years, with 20 years being the minimum.

Democrats push bill to reduce penalties for drive-by shootings, calling it ‘racial equity’(op-ed)

Also under current law, a drive-by shooting qualifies for an aggravated first-degree murder charge with mandatory penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

There is an exception for drive-by killers under the age of 21, who cannot serve life terms in Washington.

If the Democratic crazies have their way and pass this ludicrous act, it will remove drive-by shootings from the list of aggravated factors. Thus, a drive-by murderer, if charged and convicted, could be released from prison.

Democrats are not happy giving future killers a break, they want the new law to be retroactive. The act states that anyone convicted previously or who pleaded guilty to first degree murder with a drive-by as the sole aggravating factor:

“(Those convicted) must be returned to the sentencing court or the sentencing court’s successor for entry of a conviction of murder in the first degree and sentencing according to the sentencing guidelines in effect on the date of the offense.”

Washington has been ranked by the Violence Policy Center as among the worst states for drive-by shootings. The study ranked the top-10 states ranked by the number of drive-by shootings during the study period.

Washington ranked fourth in the study, tied with Illinois. The only states ranking higher were Florida, Texas, and California.

Rep. Simmons, who represents a district in western Washington, argued that “it’s clear that it was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and Black”:

“I believe in a society that believes in the power of redemption. Murder is murder no matter where the bullet comes from, but locking young people up and throwing away the key is not the answer.”

Rep. Gina Mosbrucker (R-Goldendale), ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, issued a press statement in response to the House Bill:

“It was reported during the summer that at least nine drive-by shootings in the Yakima area this year have left a trail of injuries, deaths and traumatized neighborhoods.

This horrific crime is happening more and more across our state, taking the lives of innocent victims, destroying families, and leaving neighborhoods and communities in fear.”

Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, the House Republican floor leader and a former law enforcement officer, said Democrats are simply trying to coddle to criminals:

“The Defund the Police movement pushed by progressives in this state brought forth a package of law enforcement ‘reform’ bills during the 2021 legislative session that, in the end, have made families and communities less safe, law enforcement less effective, and criminals were emboldened.

“With numerous editorials, columns, newspapers articles, radio and television stories highlighting these dangerous bills, you’d think the Legislature had learned its lesson.

But here we are again, at the cusp of adopting new policies to coddle criminals at the expense of our safety.”

In a moment of sanity in an insane political atmosphere, Maycumber questioned the timing of the legislation:

“Washington state is already seeing a surge in violent crime which is currently at a 25-year high, with murders at an all-time high in 2020, up 80 percent from five years ago.

Rape is up 40 percent from five years ago and aggravated assaults are up 50 percent from five years ago.

In light of this, why are some elected officials so intent on making it easier to be a violent criminal and releasing murderers back onto our streets?

“House Bill 1692 is a tragedy in the making as our children and families will be less safe in their own homes and even their own beds. This bill will allow those who have committed murder when engaged in drive-by shootings to get out of jail sooner.”

The only thing remaining to be seen in 2022 is whether voters will wake up and stand up to these out-of-control, self-serving political hacks?

As left-wing and Progressive Democrats continue to ignore the pain and violence being inflicted on the citizens in the streets of our once-great nation, and unabashedly cater to the criminals and cons using the excuse of some type of fabricated and fantastical social justice and judicial reform, people are dying in the streets.

It is time for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to come together and say enough is enough. It is time to recognize that we are tearing our country apart from the inside, and soon there will be nothing left to save.

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Seattle judge sets unbelievably low bail after drive-by shooting where officer was ambushed

September 13, 2021

 

RENTON, WA – A King County District Judge is under fire for setting shockingly low bail for two men arrested for ambushing a Renton officer during a drive-by shooting.

According to police documents, Frankie Taijon Robertson,24, is accused of firing 15 rounds at a Renton police officer as she waited at a stop light after pulling out of a car wash.

Lamonta Joseph Steward, 23, was allegedly driving the vehicle Robertson fired from in what police call a targeted shooting.

The veteran officer, whose name has not been released, had just driven out of the car wash and was waiting to turn left from Talbot Road South onto South Grady Way at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday when shots were fired from a nearby gas station.

Detective Robert Onishi told the media that the officer ducked down in the patrol car and radioed for backup. A witness pointed out the suspects’ red Kia fleeing from a Chevron gas station to responding officers.

Multiple officers arrived quickly to the scene because of an unrelated incident at City Hall and were able to stop the Kia after a brief pursuit.

The ambush was caught on surveillance video. Detectives said the video clearly shows the shooter firing at the officer.

No one was injured in the shooting, though one vehicle parked at the gas station was struck by gunfire and one witness was treated for a panic attack, Onishi said.

Prosecutors asked the judge for $1 million bail for Robertson and $250,000 for Steward. Despite finding probable cause for the arrests, King County District Judge pro tem David O set the bail at only $50,000 each.

King County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Casey McNerthney called the low bail “inappropriate”:

“At Mr. Robertson’s first appearance, we asked the first appearance judge to set bail at $1 million.

“We believe that the bail set Thursday afternoon by a District Court judge ($50,000) was not appropriate given Mr. Robertson’s dangerous actions posed to multiple people.”

At a charging hearing in front of a separate judge, Robertson’s bail was increased to $500,000, but Steward’s bail remained the same.

The Washington Fraternal Order of Police, which represents over 2,500 law enforcement officers in the state, condemned the shooting and was upset by Judge O’s for setting such low bail for an unprovoked and violent attack on a police officer.

WAFOP President Marco Monteblanco said:

“This is a vicious, unprovoked attack on a police officer by suspects who have a history of violence against law enforcement. Low bail for such an egregious act sends the wrong message and undermines the safety and good work of peace officers in the community.

“We are seeing more and more of these ambush-style attacks on peace officers and a low bail would have suggested there are minimal consequences for these actions. We cannot let these actions go unchecked.”

Monteblanco said that attacks on police officers like this one are clearly intended to kill, and the justice system should respond appropriately:

“Frankly, we’d still like to see higher bail for both suspects given the circumstances of this act.”

Several King County judges who tend to offer lighter sentences once worked as defense attorneys, however, they are supposed to leave biases outside the courtroom. Judge O, who is a Judge pro tem meaning he only serves on the bench part time, currently works as a defense attorney.

Contacted by local media seeking comment on this bail, Judge O failed to return a call.

Renton Police Chief Jon Schuldt released a statement saying the defendants should be treated fairly, but should have been given appropriate bail:

“They do deserve their due justice afforded them by our just system, but a high bail ensures that they would stay incarcerated pending that process. Both, through their actions, have clearly demonstrated a disregard or concern for the rights and safety of others.”

Both suspects are still in custody as of this writing.

King County prosecutors charged Robinson Friday with felony charges of drive-by shooting, assault with a firearm and unlawful gun possession.

Steward was charged with rendering criminal assistance in the second degree and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Making the low bail even more shocking is that Robertson is also a suspect in the shooting of another police officer in  March.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Renton police, Robertson is suspected of shooting at a Washington State Patrol trooper in March.

Trooper Rick Johnson, a patrol spokesman, said Friday that the shooting occurred on the northbound Interstate 5 ramp onto Interstate 405; the trooper’s vehicle was not hit.

The shooter’s hat fell out of the vehicle during the incident, and police said Robertson’s DNA was found on it.

 

 

 

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