The death of alleged police killer Maurice Clemmons doesn’t end this tragic story. Those who helped him evade capture or otherwise mislead police must be held accountable for their actions.
Clemmons is believed to be the person who shot four Lakewood police officers in cold blood at a coffee shop on Sunday. He himself was shot and killed early Tuesday morning by a police officer in south Seattle who was investigating a stolen car.
For two days, police — from many, many agencies — searched to find Clemmons. They were unsuccessful, but only, it now appears, because friends and family of Clemmons were helping him avoid capture. That action is an outrage and prosecutors must seek punishment.
There’s been a start. Two men from Auburn have been charged with helping Clemmons evade police. Others are said to have helped him, including a person who drove the getaway vehicle from the massacre. A female relative is said to have bandaged Clemmons up after he was wounded by one of the slain police officers.
While most of these people have not yet been identified, all must be held accountable for their actions.
The two men who have been named – Eddie Lee Davis, 20, and Douglas Davis, 22, have been charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Though both have pleaded not guilty, Pierce County Judge Bryan Chushcoff has taken a good first step in setting bail at $700,000 for Eddie Davis and $500,000 for Douglas Davis.
Another person, Clemmons’ half-brother, Rickey Hinton, is in jail with bail set at $2 million. He is under investigation for rendering criminal assistance.
Charging papers show a series of steps by Clemmons’ friends and relatives to keep him away from police, from driving him from one house to another to helping him treat his gunshot wound. Later he was moved again, twice, to the Auburn Super Mall area and then on to an apartment complex where he got into a car of another woman and was driven off.
It is inconceivable that these people didn’t know that Clemmons had shot four police officers and that he was on the run. Still, they sided with Clemmons and against law-abiding society.
These cases need to come to trial and the people accused of aiding Maurice Clemmons need to pay a stiff price if found guilty. Until that happens, prosecutors and judges must see that they remain in jail and not let out on bail where they might flee the area and possible prison time.
Society only works when people do the right thing, regardless if a friend or relative is involved in what appears to be a crime. Those who can’t or won’t abide by that behavior must be held accountable for their actions.
Four police officers are dead, ambushed in a deadly attack. Justice must be served.