During this horrific week in Ferguson, Missouri we should not forget the senseless tragedy that happened five years ago today in Lakewood, Washington.
On the morning of November 29, 2009 Maurice Clemmons walked into the Forza Coffee Company in Parkland, Washington. He was waiting in line for coffee, when suddenly he turned toward a nearby table where four Lakewood police officers were having breakfast. Clemmons pulled out a pistol and gunned down all four officers.
Maurice Clemmons executed Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40 and Greg Richards, 42. Each officer left behind families whose lives were forever changed that day.
Clemmons Was Let Out of Prison in Arkansas by Mike Huckabee
Maurice Clemmons should never have been in Washington that day. He should have been locked up in an Arkansas prison. Instead, in 2000 after serving only 11 years of his 105 year sentence, then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee felt sorry for Clemmons and commuted his sentence. Clemmons was then paroled and set free.
After Huckabee let him out of prison, Clemmons went on a nine year crime spree all across the nation and ended up in Washington that day. These four murders should never, never have happened.
Willie Horton Was Let Out of Prison in Massachusetts by Michael Dukakis
It turns out that the early release of Maurice Clemmons led to an even more tragic end than another governor's fatal error.
In 1985 then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis let a convicted murderer out of prison on a weekend furlough. That prisoner, Willie Horton made his way from Massachusetts to Maryland where he brutally attacked an innocent young couple in their home. Horton repeatedly raped and tortured Angie Miller and stabbed her fiancé, Cliff Barnes 22 times. Horton terrorized this young couple in their home for over 12 hours. Cliff Barnes managed to escape and called police. Horton was captured, went back to prison and two more lives were changed forever.
I am very familiar with the Horton case, because I ran the Committee for the Presidency in 1988. We helped the victim's tell their stories that year when Michael Dukakis was running for president. Dukakis never showed any remorse for his actions, and the Willie Horton furlough was one of the major reasons Dukakis lost to George H. W. Bush that year.
Mike Huckabee Needs to Apologize to the Victims' Families
Mike Huckabee's actions when he was governor led to four police officers being executed. Just like Governor Dukakis never did with the Barnes', Governor Huckabee never uttered the slightest apology to the family's of the four slain police officers.
In a pathetic letter he wrote soon after the killings, Huckabee said, "If I only had the same information I had then, I would make the same decision" (sic: commutation of Clemmons' sentence). What a terrible and insensitive thing to say. Mike Huckabee showed zero remorse for his decision and undoubtedly caused even more pain to the victims.
Later in a radio interview Huckabee finally said, "It's not something I'm happy about at this particular moment."
Now Mike Huckabee Looks Like He is Running for President Again
On June 18, 2010 I wrote an open letter to Mike Huckabee in the Huffington Post "An Apology Now, Mike Huckabee?" suggesting that a long overdue apology was in order to the family's of the four slain officers. Mike Huckabee was silent.
I went further and wrote a column "Why Mike Huckabee Can't Run for President"
which was published on April 12, 2011. I took on Huckabee on several issues like all his cruel and hateful remarks on gay marriage and gay parenting. I discussed his lack of an apology or taking any responsibly for Maurice Clemmons' actions. Mike Huckabee was silent again.
A man is best known by his how he treats others. Mike Huckabee has shown us his true colors these past five years. If he decides to run for President of the United States in 2016, the public should know this as well.