Imagine our surprise.
The man suspected of shooting a New York City police officer in the head and killing him on Tuesday night had been on the run from the police for weeks, accused of dropping out of a court-mandated drug treatment program and playing a role in a recent shooting, according to police officials.
Last fall, the man, Tyrone Howard, was arrested along with 18 other members of a drug crew that had spread violence through a stretch of public housing along the East River and was ordered into a drug diversion program, which is meant to keep some drug offenders from further crowding already overcrowded jails.
In May, he stopped taking part in the program, the officials said.
Months later, the police said, he was believed to have been involved in a shooting, the details of which the authorities did not immediately provide.
But officers had been looking for him; they had been to his house and talked to his associates.
“He clearly knew that they were on his trail. They’ve made numerous attempts to grab him,” Stephen P. Davis, the department’s deputy commissioner for public information, said. “He’s considered a very major drug dealer in the East River Houses.”
Perhaps if this career criminal had been dealt with harshly Officer Holder would be alive today.
Mr. Howard has an extensive history of arrests, primarily for narcotics sales. He has served two terms in New York State prison for drug sales, with his most recent release coming in April 2014.
Mr. Howard was one of 19 defendants charged with selling narcotics — in most cases, crack cocaine — to undercover officers.
You know who’s big on commuting sentences and pardoning “non-violent” drug offenders?
President Obama on Monday commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders, more than double the number of commutations he granted earlier this year, as part of his effort to reform the criminal justice system.
In a Facebook video posted Monday, the president said the 46 prisoners had served sentences disproportionate to their crimes.
“These men and women were not hardened criminals, but the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said. “I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.” He noted that in his letters to them, he urged that they make different choices now that their sentences had been commuted.
Today’s news comes as police commissioners today call for reducing the number of criminal laws and mandatory minimum sentences.
Asserting that “too many people are behind bars that don’t belong there,” the officials plan to announce on Wednesday that they have formed a group to push for alternatives to arrests, reducing the number of criminal laws and ending mandatory minimum prison sentences. Members of the group are scheduled to meet Thursday with President Obama.
Great timing, guys.