Lakewood police memorial: killings may spur changes for offenders
The Lakewood police memorial honored the four officers who were killed in a shocking ambush on Nov. 29. Their deaths could affect how states consider commuting prison sentences.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The ceremony amounted to the largest such gathering in the state of Washington's history, with more than 2,000 law enforcement vehicles – some from as far away as Boston and New York – snaking their way through Tacoma. Their destination was the memorial at the Tacoma Dome for the four from Lakewood, Wash. – Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards, and Ronald Owens.
The massive turnout for the memorial – hundreds of Washingtonians braved freezing temperatures to watch the procession – is a testament to the outrage over the killings. The deaths may eventually change how this state sets bail for repeat offenders – and they could even impact how other states consider commuting prison sentences.
Maurice Clemmons, who is accused of gunning down the officers in a Parkland, Wash., coffee shop, was a parolee from Arkansas with a violent criminal past who had been arrested numerous times in Washington. He was killed last Tuesday by a Seattle police officer after a massive statewide manhunt.
Mr. Clemmons had made bail six days before allegedly gunning down the officers. He had been arrested on assault and second-degree rape charges.
Soon after it was announced that Clemmons was the primary suspect, news emerged that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had commuted his 108-year prison sentence, given for a string of violent robberies and burglaries. Suddenly the officers' deaths took on a political dimension as Mr. Huckabee, who many expect to vie for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, was at the center of the controversy.