After Another Cop Killed, LA County Lawmakers Demand Investigation Into Laws That Let Criminals on the Street
Officer Keith Boyer was gunned down in cold blood Monday morning while responding to help someone in a car accident, according to KTLA-TV.
As Independent Journal Review reported, the grieving police chief of Whittier tore into California voters for passing laws that put criminals, such as the accused killer Michael Mejia, back on the streets.
Chief Jeff Piper said on live TV that the succession of laws, intended to reduce prison population, were putting citizens and cops at risk:
“What I want to say to the community of Whittier, community surrounding Whittier and the state is, we need to wake up. Enough is enough. Passing these propositions, you’re creating these laws that are raising crime.
It’s not good for our communities and it is not good for our officers.
What you have today is an example of that."
Some, like the police officer's union and Michael Rushford, the President of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, hold Governor Jerry Brown responsible for signing 2011's AB 109 which went into effect in 2014, for “realigning” hard core criminals from prisons to county jails and probation and parole:
KABC reports that there are two other voter-approved initiatives, Proposition 47, which stopped 'non violent' criminals from going to state prison, and Proposition 57 which will, when it’s fully implemented, accelerate prison sentences.
The suspected killer, Michael Mejia, is a convicted robber, car thief, meth abuser, and hard core gang member. He was arrested five times after being released from state custody, according to the LA Times.
The California Corrections Department told Independent Journal Review that the claims of going easier on hard core criminals, like Mejia, aren’t true and that he served his full sentence.
Prison Legal News, a human rights watch-dog, reports that technically the state could make that claim because the burden of housing inmates has now been shifted overcrowded prisons to overcrowded jails, but:
As part of Realignment, most prisoners are no longer released on parole under state supervision but instead are placed on community supervision under county probation officials. When they violate their supervision they can be sent to jail for up to six months. However, due to overcrowding caused by Realignment, community supervision violators typically serve only a small amount of their jail sanction – sometimes just a few days.
The Prison Legal News also reports that assessing the impact is difficult because of the way the law was written:
In September 2013, the California State Auditor issued a warning about Realignment: “The State does not currently have access to reliable and meaningful data concerning the realignment. As a result, the impact of realignment cannot be fully evaluated at this time. Even so, initial data indicate that local jails may not have adequate capacity and services to handle the influx of inmates caused by realignment. Until enough time has passed to allow the effectiveness and efficiency of realignment to be evaluated, we will consider it a statewide high-risk issue.”
However, as the San Jose Mercury News reports, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is calling for an investigation into the impact of those laws:
Another Supervisor, Kathryn Barger, is joining in the call for an investigation. She told KPCC radio:
“Along with numerous elected officials and public safety leaders across the state, I am very concerned about the safety of our law enforcement community in light of legislative and voter-approved changes to our criminal justice system.”
In a news release, the officers union laid the fault for Officer Boyer’s death at the feet of the state laws:
We are calling for an immediate independent review of the negative impacts of California’s Proposition 47 and AB 109 on the safety of our communities. Today, a letter was sent to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asking for this review to begin immediately.
The public deserves to know just who the State of California feels is safe to be back in their neighborhoods again.
The LAPD is already understaffed in patrol, and we do not have the resources to contend with more and more criminals either being let out early or not prosecuted because of failed policies cooked up by academics, statisticians and those who have made a cottage industry out of apologizing for criminals.
The Police One website concludes that based on his criminal record, Mejia should not have been out of jail at the time of Officer Boyer’s murder.