Cop Killers Had Long Arrest Records

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In New York City last Tuesday, NYPD Officer Ryan Holder and his partner responded to a “shots fired” call coming from East Harlem. According to a victim on the scene, a man had stolen his bike at gunpoint before fleeing. The two officers went in pursuit of the thief, only to find themselves under fire. Holder was shot, becoming the fourth NYPD officer killed in the line of duty in eleven months.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico on Wednesday night, a police officer – yet to be publicly identified – pulled a man over under suspicion of driving with a stolen license plate. The traffic stop turned bad when the suspect resisted arrest. The suspect pulled a gun, shot the officer, and fled. As of the time of this article, the officer is reported to be in critical condition.

What do these tales have in common, other than the obvious? In both cases, it turns out that the perpetrators had long – very long – arrest records. Davon Lymon, the suspect in the Albuquerque shooting, had a rap sheet filled with felonies like voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, fraud and forgery, and even some kidnapping charges, though these were dismissed.

The suspect in New York City is Tyrone Howard, another career criminal. Police reported this week that Howard had been arrested an astounding 28 times over the last twenty years with a rap sheet dating back to when he was only 13. In 2009, Howard was a prime suspect in a shooting that injured a 78-year-old and an 11-year old, but police could not gather enough evidence to charge him.

Not only do these shootings fly in the face of the liberal narrative that “there’s no war on police,” they show us how important it is to be careful on criminal justice reform. The problem of mass incarceration has become a bipartisan one in recent years. Libertarians want to see drug laws substantially reduced. Liberals want to champion the plight of incarcerated blacks. And Republicans want to save the taxpayers some money.

That’s all well and good, but this is a path fraught with danger. Tough laws and tough sentencing combined to drive crime down substantially in this country over the last twenty years. If we’re going to pursue justice reform, let us do so with clear heads and sound logic. If we’re doing this just to satisfy the extremists on the left who think prisons are the new plantations, then forget it. Crime is a choice.

Just as there’s no excuse for a multiple deportee to be in the U.S., there’s no excuse for people with long, violent histories of crime to be out on the streets. There comes a point when we just plain don’t need you in our society. When we ignore this obvious fact and fool ourselves with dreams of rehabilitation, people get hurt.