UPDATES with winger backlash after the jump.** Former Arkansas Gov. and current Fox News host Mike Huckabee has been downplaying the idea that he’ll run for president in 2012. And not a moment too soon. Turns out, the man wanted in connection with mowing down four police officers in a Seattle-area diner had his 35-year prison sentence commuted by the Huckster back in the day. From the Seattle Times:
Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.
Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor 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 Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.
Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.
Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.
He was released from custody just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.
Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons’ release on the pending child-rape charge.
Huckabee won’t be the only one to blame. There appear to be a number of agencies and individuals who ignored multiple warning sings that Clemmons was unstable:
In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.
“The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” the report says.
As part of the child-rape investigation, the sheriff’s office interviewed Clemmons’ sister in May. She told them that “Maurice is not in his right mind and did not know how he could react when contacted by Law Enforcement,” a sheriff’s report says.
“She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is having a mental breakdown,” the report says.
Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to “confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh.”
But the Huck’s going to pay a political price anyway for this Fort Hood-style mess anyway, especially with his frenemies on the right, who already hate his guts for once having raised taxes, and for droning on about icky “compassion” for the poor. But the question that no one on the right will dare to ask is: why is it so easy for mentally unstable people like Clemmons, and the Virginia Tech shooter, among others, to get their hands on guns? And shouldn’t there be some restriction on gun ownership when it comes to people with demonstrated mental illness? I’m guessing the answer on the right will be “no.” Because that’s how they roll. In fact, some wingers in Congress want to give the mentally unstable even more guns to shoot down police officers and civilians with.
Prayers go out to the families of the dead officers, and god help us all.
UPDATE: It starts. RedState pounces, officially declaring the end of Mike Huckabee’s political career. Malkin lays into Huckabee above the fold, and links to a post from Brian D. Wurts, president of the Lakewood Police Independent Gild, who uses the tragedy of the slain officers to make a political statement and to promote the tea party movement. Seriously.
Tina was our conservative friend. She was excited to be a part of the Olympia Tea Parties and proudly stated why she got involved in politics over the past year. Tina was sharp too, only a couple mornings ago we had a great discussion on the future of our Republic and how we felt true limited government conservatives should take back out [sic] political party. If you wanted any details over the massive government spending she would have them for you. If anyone thinks these comments are off color then you did not know Tina well. She would tell you where you could go and like Mark you always knew where you stood with her.
Um … okay… btw, the Lakewood Police Independent Guild appears to be … wait for it … a union:
The LPIG is active in bargaining our contracts, increasing member’s benefits, supporting Law Enforcement issues locally and through our work in WACOPS, aggressively defending our member’s rights, and working in the community in areas that further our goals.
I thought tea party types didn’t believe in Socialistic things like collective bargaining. Hm… Politico covers the fire on the right.
The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.
Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990. This commutation made him parole eligible and he was then was paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.