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Clemmons Killed, Relatives Arrested as Accomplices

police surround ambulance containing Clemmons body (Joshua Trujillo/Seattle PI)

Police surround ambulance containing Clemmons' body (Joshua Trujillo/Seattle PI)

Apparently, Maurice Clemmons was right about one thing he wrote in his petition to Gov. Mike Huckabee asking for commutation of his prison sentence.  He did have a close knit circle of family, friends (and fellow ex-cons) who would “support” him on his release.  The only problem is that this circle was also willing to act as accomplices in helping him evade capture which is why it took 48 hours before he was found and killed early this morning by a lone Seattle police officer during a routine traffic stop.

The policeman found a car idling on a South Seattle street and noted it had been stolen shortly earlier.  While filling out the paperwork, he noticed a man approaching from his side of the car.  The cop exited his car, immediately recognized Clemmons and told him to put his hands up.  When the suspected police killer backed away from him and reached in his waist the police officer shot him, hitting him twice and killing him.

None of this is particularly revelatory (though scenes like this are exceedingly rare in Seattle).  But what does disturb many here is that there was a network which aided and abetted Clemmons in eluding capture.  The Seattle Times reports that they provided him with getaway cars, money, cellphones and were arranging for him to escape the state when he was killed.  His sister attempted to treat his stomach wound.  Three people are in custody and will likely be charged with crimes and at least one or more others are being sought.  I also heard a report that some of these people deliberately lied to police about the convict’s whereabouts.

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  • Michael December 2, 2009, 4:08 AM

    Are policemen directed to shoot to kill? I’d hope they are instructed and trained to shoot to incapacitate suspects so they can be brought to trial.

    • Mary December 2, 2009, 5:38 AM

      Clemmons was considered armed and dangerous, and a probable cop killer. He allegedly reached for his waist where it could be assumed there was a gun. Shooting to incapacitate may not be effective, and if I had been that cop, I would not have done anything differently.

  • Michael December 2, 2009, 6:41 AM

    Sure. Clemmons was a killer and was armed and dangerous. Does that he mean he should be killed by a cop? I would hope that the police are instructed and trained to bring suspects to trial. Recently, there have been several instances where murder suspects have been killed on the scene. They were all Black. It creates an unseemly appearance of execution.
    Unfortunately, now that Clemmons is dead, we only have the cop’s account to rely on. Again, I’m not casting aspersions on the cop who was brave and effective, and may have had only the one option of shooting to kill (it took just two bullets).
    What’s missing is a public discussion about options. This may save the lives of other offenders.
    BTW, there is a video clip (I am unable to attach a link) showing Clemmons and a friend trying to get into a meeting of Christian ministers. He introduces himself as “Jesus Christ”. Were his accomplices members of a cult?

    • Mary December 2, 2009, 7:26 AM

      Think seriously about what you are saying. This was not a traffic stop; this guy wasn’t Rodney King. He was a fugitive fleeing a mass murder. Whether he was black or white is not relevant here. A lone city police officer, when confronted with someone like Clemmons, should not be expected to risk his life preserving this dangerous person for trial. In the heat of the moment, is any human being expected to remain cool and calculated enough to think, “gee, I have to preserve him for trial, should I shoot his foot, or his hand, or what?” And as I said, wounding Clemmons would not guarantee that he would be incapacitated to the point where he could not return fire and possibly kill the officer.

      This is not a new issue, but there are variables in this case that should be considered. Normally, police officers are trained to arrest suspects without incident, but this guy appeared to be going for his gun. There may be video evidence to support that; police cars are equipped with video cameras.

      You also may be seeing a racial issue prematurely, where it may not exist.

    • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2009, 12:17 PM

      No, they weren’t. They were prison buddies & fellow partners in crime (literally) along with family members.

      When you’re dealing with a suspect who’s killed 4 police officers in cold blood, and someone who is physically powerful (235 lbs.) & you meet him alone in the early morning hrs w. no other human being in sight in case you should lose out in a fight–you simply can’t afford to lose. You’ve got to shoot & even shoot to kill if necessary. In reaching for the gun Clemmons was carrying in his waist there could be no doubt that Clemmons would’ve used it. He’d already killed 4 police plus the cops knew he’d boasted to friends the night before the killings that he intended to kill some cops. I’m just as opposed to unnecessary killings & violence perpetrated by police as anyone. But this case isn’t like those.

      Also, keep in mind that Clemmons had a very serious stomach wound caused by a police gunshot. That hadn’t incapacitated him. Why would anyone think that wounding him with another shot would stop him or slow him down?

  • amir December 2, 2009, 12:45 PM

    This is what you (Richard) posted in a comment at the Guardian CIF: “at the Yeshivat Harav when an Arab went on a shooting spree, the shooter was killed in cold blood by a policeman & student.” (my emphasis) you later say, referring to this and other incidents “Gee, I guess there are bloodthirsty folk on both sides.”
    You see, if you’re Jewish and you shoot an Arab in the middle of a murderous shooting spree you are bloodthirsty cold blooded killer. In Seattle, closer to Richard’s home, his standards are a bit different.

    • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2009, 2:23 PM

      Yes, I said the Yeshivat HaRav shooter was killed in cold blood because after the terrorist was shot and on the ground the Israeli pumped more shots into him and killed him. You conveniently leave that out of yr account of what I wrote. If the terrorist had merely been shot in the midst of his own spree and killed as a result of that I would have used different words to describe the incident. When you shoot someone on the ground and immobilized it becomes a killing in cold blood. I presume you have no moral problem w. such an act. I do. That’s the diff. bet. us. And I would have a problem w. it whether it was a Palestinian killing an Israeli or the other way around.

      That didn’t happen in Seattle where Clemmons was killed while attempting to draw his weapon.

      • amir December 2, 2009, 9:04 PM

        A lot of the Palestinian terrorists are booby trapped as well with explosives, so yes it is completely justified to shoot in order to kill in the case of Yeshivat HaRav massacre. You hold an incredible double standard against Israelis. The actions of the policeman and student during the massacre can be described as nothing other than heroic. For you to call them cold blooded bloodthirsty killers says more about you than anyone else.

        • Richard Silverstein December 2, 2009, 9:21 PM

          so yes it is completely justified to shoot in order to kill in the case of Yeshivat HaRav massacre.

          No, it’s not. Yours is the perspective of the avg. Israeli debased by years of exposure to war & terror & further debased by deep hatred for Arabs. It’s what I expected you to say. Except you gussied up yr explanation with claims about terrorists booby trapped with explosives. Frankly, this may once have happened but I haven’t heard of it ever happening certainly not in the recent past. So as usual you’ve justified cold blooded murder w. an out of date assumption about Palestinian terror tactics.

          You hold an incredible double standard against Israelis. The actions of the policeman and student during the massacre can be described as nothing other than heroic

          To stop a terrorist is a heroic act. But to murder him after he’s down & immobilized is most definitely not heroic. And the fact that you can’t tell the difference tells us that you’ve long since stopped having any moral compass when it comes to the Palestinians.

          • amir December 3, 2009, 9:50 AM

            Do you have any proof that they murdered him after he was down and immobilized?

          • Richard Silverstein December 3, 2009, 12:32 PM

            I read it in one of the news reports at the time.

          • Mary December 4, 2009, 5:57 AM

            I can’t even find the name of the shooter in the yeshiva massacre, which tells me that in the Israeli media, it didn’t matter who he was or that he was shot afterwards.

            It was a terrible tragedy when it happened, but at the time, I also asked myself why the US media never covers the mass murders of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis in the same way. It made me think that in this world, some people’s lives are deemed more valuable than others, even when all are equally innocent.

          • amir December 4, 2009, 2:40 PM

            His name was Alaa Abu Dhein and according to his family he was an intensely religious Muslim. I have not seen any reports that he was mentally ill. His victims were: Neria Cohen aged 15, Segev Avihail aged 15, Avraham Moses aged 16, Yehonatan Eldar aged 16, Roi Roth aged 18, Yohai Lipshitz aged 18, Yonadav Hirshfeld aged 18, Doron Mahareta aged 26. Ten other students were wounded, three seriously.
            I have never seen any reports that the men who bravely stopped the attack murdered him after he was subdued and RS has yet to back up this libelous claim. The men who stopped the massacre acted heroically. And Mary if you want to complain about a double standard this massacre was brought to the UN security council for condemnation and they refused to condemn it. Compare this to the way the UN consistently condemns Israel.

          • Richard Silverstein December 4, 2009, 5:43 PM

            So much for libel, and this is from the settler news portal which undoubtedly joins you in celebrating such cold-blooded heroism:

            When he came out, I shot him in the head twice. I saw him start to stagger, and then David Shapira [a yeshiva graduate and paratroopers officer] arrived on the scene, shot him with his M-16 rifle, and then we emptied our magazines into him.”

            When you fire two shots into someone’s head you have incapacitated them. For anyone to fire further is cold blooded murder. By the way, this is unfortunately common practice in the IDF as well. There are operations in which the IDF has actually mortally wounded individuals, sometimes even civilians, in which a soldier will approach and fire a point blank round into the person’s head to “finish them off.” It seems more like blood lust to me than “heroism” as Amir defines it. I’ll let my readers be the judge of which explanation they prefer.

            The funny thing about Amir is he gets all huffy on you when you make claims & demands you prove them. THen when you do, he goes on to the next huffiness & never mentions that you’ve proven the very thing he claimed you were lying about. Perhaps there will be an admission by Amir that the terrorist was mutilated after he was not only incapacitated, but already dead? Or perhaps Amir will reveal he has no moral compass towards Palestinians by saying the terrorist’s crime was so heinous he had it coming to him & Amir himself would’ve liked to add a few slugs for good measure?

          • Mary December 4, 2009, 5:58 PM

            Thank you, Richard, for the clarification.

            As for the UN Security Council, it seems that Israel finds their determinations to be fair only when they’re in Israel’s favor. We’ll see what the Security Council says about Operation Cast Lead, won’t we? Perhaps that is the “double standard” you are referring to.

          • amir December 4, 2009, 10:33 PM

            Thanks for the link. I admit to not reading Arutz 7. Like I said this is the kind of situation where a terrorist on a murder spree has to be killed because he will use his last bit of strength to keep killing, as we saw with the terrorist who went on a rampage in Jerusalem with a tractor. After he was shot and everyone thought he was dead he woke up and kept trying to run people over. Or he might be able to detonate an explosive (even you concede that happened once) And yes, I think that a man who enters a building to confront a terrorist and kill him is a hero. When it comes to fight or flight, I’m more of the flight kind of guy. You make it sound like they killed him and then started celebrating and taking apart his body (like what happened with the reservists that accidentally stumbled into Ramallah). They killed him with all the bullets they had. That whole part of the ordeal probably took a few seconds.
            Richard, I have no hatred for Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims or anybody else. Yes, this persons crime was so heinous that he had it coming to him. Not because he’s Palestinian and not because he’s Muslim, but because he went o a shooting spree in a yeshiva full of kids. Baruch Goldstein, who was killed after his murder spree, had it coming to him, Clemons had it coming to him. If someone had emptied a cartridge into Igal Amir, I would say he had it coming to him.
            And Mary, I never said anything to suggest that you condoned mass murder. You pointed out a double standard and so I pointed out a different double standard.

          • Richard Silverstein December 5, 2009, 2:57 AM

            Well, at least you’re honest. I don’t agree with you about wanting to pump bullets into already dead bodies. But as long as you’re prepared to see that happen to Arabs and Jews at least there’s a perverse symmetry there.

          • michael December 5, 2009, 8:25 AM

            The Hebrew term for this policy is “veedoo hareegah”, translated as “confirm the kill”. Israeli military are educated to kill rather than to capture. This execution on the scene of the crime circumvents the Israeli judiciary’s moratorium on the death penalty. It also precludes any future prisoner swaps with Palestinians. Since both of these are not universally accepted in Israeli society, the executions “in the heat of the moment” are tacitly condoned in the Israeli media.

          • Richard Silverstein December 5, 2009, 4:04 PM

            Thanks so much for adding this useful information to amplify what I wrote. I knew of the concept but had never heard the Hebrew phrase for it.

          • burton December 5, 2009, 8:51 PM

            http://www.harpers.org/archive/2005/05/0080518

            Archive
            May 2005

            In the zone
            By Nomi Friedman (Trans.)

            From the transcript of radio communication among Israeli soldiers near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The recording was submitted in January 2005 in the trial of the company commander, whose name has been withheld due to a military court order. He faces a maximum of three years in prison. Translated from the Hebrew by Nomi Friedman.

            SENTRY: We spotted an Arab female about 100 meters below our emplacement, near the light armored vehicle gate.

            HEADQUARTERS: Observation post “Spain,” do you see it?

            OBSERVATION POST: Affirmative, it’s a young girl. She’s now running east.

            HQ: What is her position?

            OP: She’s currently north of the authorized zone.

            SENTRY: Very inappropriate location.

            [Gunfire]

            OP: She’s now behind an embankment, 250 meters from the barracks. She keeps running east. The hits are right on her.

            HQ: Are you talking about a girl under ten?

            OP: Approximately a ten-year-old girl.

            HQ: Roger.

            OP: OP to HQ.

            HQ: Receiving, over.

            OP: She’s behind the embankment, dying of fear, the hits are right on her, a centimeter from her.

            SENTRY: Our troops are storming toward her now. They are around 70 meters from her.

            HQ: I understand that the company commander and his squad are out?

            SENTRY: Affirmative, with a few more soldiers.

            OP: Receive. Looks like one of the positions dropped her.

            HQ: What, did you see the hit? Is she down?

            OP: She’s down. Right now she isn’t moving.

            COMPANY COMMANDER [to HQ]: Me and another soldier are going in. [To the squad] Forward, to confirm the kill!

            CC [to HQ]: We fired and killed her. She has . . . wearing pants . . . jeans and a vest, shirt. Also she had a kaffiyeh on her head. I also confirmed the kill. Over.

            HQ: Roger.

            CC [on general communications band]: Any motion, anyone who moves in the zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, should be killed. Over.
            =======
            See also: http://www.wrmea.com/archives/Jan_Feb_2005/0501009.html

          • Mary December 6, 2009, 6:42 AM

            This is the “most moral army in the world.”

            Sadly, it’s not an isolated incident. But the western media never reports on murdered Palestinian children; it prefers to report when a Qassam rocket lands in a field somewhere, making sure the world knows of these unprovoked terrorist acts against Zionists.

  • Warren December 2, 2009, 1:38 PM

    Agree with Richard and Mary, it sounds from what I’ve heard like the officer used reasonable force in this situation and context.

    • Mary December 4, 2009, 5:52 PM

      Amir, I have not said one thing about any double standard except as regards media coverage. You seem to think I condone mass murder. I was pointing out the lack of evenhanded coverage when it comes to Israel and Palestine.

      By the way, I saw an al jazeera video today showing a settler running over a wounded Palestinian. He threw the car into reverse and backed over the guy a second time.

  • DICKERSON3870 December 3, 2009, 12:47 AM

    RE: Clemmons murdering four police officers

    MY COMMENT: Yet another ‘terrorist attack’ on Obama’s watch!

    • Mary December 3, 2009, 6:14 AM

      Nah, Clemmons wasn’t a Muslim.

      He didn’t give money to Iran, did he?

  • Michael December 3, 2009, 5:46 AM

    Richard, I had missed the info about the stomach wound. Thanks both, for the clarification.

  • James December 5, 2009, 11:44 PM

    DICKERSON3870,

    Since you wish to relate to cowardly action of a Cop Killer to that of a terrorist, and some how you look at it as a fault of Obama, lets look at the number of officers killed under George Bush’s watch. Not to including the Heros (Officers) who gave their lives on 9/11.

    70 police officers killed in 2001
    56 police officers killed in 2002
    52 police officers killed in 2003
    154 police officers killed in line of duty in 2004
    55 law enforcement officers were killed in 2005
    In 2006, 48 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed
    In 2007, 57 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed
    41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2008

    By the way, these are the FBI numbers. It is amazing how true colors of our Christian nation comes out shining, when things don’t go our way.

    • Richard Silverstein December 6, 2009, 2:06 AM

      I think you misread Dickerson. If you read his comments here you’d realize that is not his view of Obama at all.