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Horowitz: Why Daunte Wright’s aggravated robbery charge matters so much

Here we have yet another example of a saintly youth needlessly shot dead by police simply because he was black.


That is the narrative the media wants you to believe about the Daunte Wright shooting, but the reality is that while the shooting was obviously a clear mistake, his criminal record and the fact that he was not behind bars are precisely why the police are now confronted by violent fugitives who either run or fight with them.

No, Daunte Wright was not just a young man living an upstanding life who wound up dead because the police pulled him over for an expired car registration or for an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. According to documents obtained by the U.K. Daily Mail, the outstanding warrant police were attending to after they pulled Wright over was for aggravated robbery at gunpoint.

According to charging documents, Wright was sleeping over at the house of a young woman after a party on Dec. 1, 2019, when he suddenly pulled a gun on her and demanded she hand over money she had obtained from an ATM. He proceeded to choke her and threaten to shoot her while she kneeled.

After he was arrested, Wright was released from jail after a bondsman posted $40,000 bond, but in July 2020, his bail was revoked by a judge when he was caught with a firearm, a violation of his bail, and failed to check in with his probation officer.

Wright is one of thousands of young males in every major city of this country who have become increasingly violent, successfully thwart the law, suffer few consequences, and thus feel invincible against law enforcement.

We often hear protests and hand-wringing over the fact that young men, black or otherwise, wind up dead because of "stupid crimes" or a traffic stop. But in almost every case, there is a reason for it. In a previous era, these people would have been behind bars, but recently our justice system keeps them on the streets. When police confront them, either to serve a warrant or often because of lower-level traffic stops, the criminals – either because of their violent nature or because they know they have reason to fear the law – explode. They fight because they are criminals and they know that police are now watched closely and treated as if they are the ones on probation.

Many violent career criminals are often caught committing low-level crimes. Cops approach them as if they are innocuous, just as in this case, where clearly the cops treated him just as anyone else pulled over during a traffic stop. But there's something interesting about violent criminals who barely serve time for past offenses: They are not deterred from acting violent again. Cops never know when someone is going to turn violent on them.

Obviously, this particular case is anomalous, because the cop meant to fire the Taser after Wright resisted, but tragically picked up the gun, a reality borne out clearly by the bodycam video. But police are confronted with these situations more and more, which will trigger stress-related responses — appropriately or inappropriately — that get themselves or others killed.

So what is the answer?

Do we terrorize the police into being even more passive? Well, we need not speculate about the consequences of such a strategy. The past 11 months or so show that the body count in our major cities is set to skyrocket to levels we've never seen before. Those who fight with the police are not the sort of people who will live very long within the civil population without exhibiting violence. If the police ratchet down their encounters by laying off warrants and terminating traffic stops, law-abiding citizens will be the new line of defense … and body count. That is already happening.

With woke judges refusing to hold almost any repeat violent offender and with few of them ever getting convicted and serving meaningful time, we will have more people like Raquan Wilson out on the streets. This is just one of endless examples, but a Brooklyn, New York, judge recently released Wilson on charges of illegal weapons possession, even though he had four open cases for packing loaded pistols and for armed robbery.

Just like Wright, Wilson, 19, had been charged with pointing a gun at someone's head. At just 15, he was also arrested for attempted murder and then a slew of other crimes over the past two years, including one incident in which he allegedly pistol-whipped his victim in an armed robbery. All through the process, he was bailed out on extremely low bail and appears never to have served time in prison, despite breaking the condition of his bail in the most dramatic way imaginable.

Wilson was arrested a few weeks ago during a traffic stop and was caught in possession of a gun. Luckily for the cops, Wilson did not resist arrest, but his criminal record was never even brought up during his bond hearing by the woke judge or Soros prosecutor, and he is out again. Multiply this story times 1,000, and you have endless scenarios where cops are pulling over people and discovering their violent records, often with outstanding warrants or bail/parole violations, and it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to realize why police will likely face more violence than ever before.

This is exactly what the "criminal justice reform" crowd wanted — more people out on the streets rather than behind bars. What that means is that cops will be dealing with prison-like situations in the volatile environment of the open streets. Many criminals are on drugs more than ever and are emboldened to fight with the police more than ever. Most of the time, the cops will react appropriately, and often, even with underwhelming force (although you never hear about those cases). But once in a while, mistakes will occur.

To continue promoting the de-incarceration agenda and the war on cops as the solution will only lead to even more record crime and thousands more homicide victims every year. The real story is that repeat violent gang members with a history of armed robbery and gun charges are given endless chances, not just "second chances," as called for by the liberal governors in both parties with their mindless tropes and slogans.

So no, this is not just a case of "driving while black" or getting pulled over for hanging an air freshener from a mirror. It's that the same liberals who cry over gun control suddenly don't find gun violence to be a problem when it's perpetrated by career criminals. In this case, they think Wright was a saint and had no problem with him remaining on the streets, despite his violation of the conditions of his bail for a violent gun crime.

At its core, "criminal justice reform" is the agenda to keep repeat violent gang members out of jail whenever they are caught with more gun and drug charges and probation violations. But those are the people who go on to commit murder and mayhem, which is why the crime bubble is exploding. Yet rather than speaking with one voice against the cause of this entire cycle of violence and volatile police interactions, Republicans like Tennessee Governor Bill Lee suggest that this agenda "is a natural fit for conservatives" and will "make Tennessee communities safer." Yes, sort of the same way Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson believes chemical castration is a natural fit for conservatives and would have been embraced by Ronald Reagan and Bill Buckley.

Because a generation of Republicans forgot what it meant to be conservative on crime, the Left has been free to pursue a radical de-incarceration agenda with impunity. They use examples of the symptoms of this problem to aggravate rather than cure the underlying ailment of undeterred violent crime. We will pay for it on our streets, one way or another.

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