Had our criminal justice system been working the way it should, perhaps retired police officer David Dorn would still be alive today. Yet there will be no calls for true criminal justice reform to ensure that repeat violent felons like Dorn’s suspected murderer are locked up, even as there is rioting for justice for George Floyd when justice is already well on its way to being served.
Monday, Stephan Cannon, 24, was arrested for the murder of retired St. Louis police Captain David Dorn on June 2. Like nearly all murder suspects, Cannon had a prior violent crime record, but he never served a day in prison. This is the systemic injustice in our criminal justice system that nobody in politics wants to talk about. Yet for every cop like Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis there are thousands upon thousands of undeterred and unpunished criminals like Cannon who are responsible for killing exponentially more African-Americans.
Missouri court records show that Cannon was sentenced to seven years in prison for a robbery and assault in St. Louis County in 2014. The sentence stemmed from an incident in August 2013 when Cannon confessed to beating a man in a robbery in order to steal his cash and phone. As is often the case in our leaky justice system, he was able to plead down to second-degree robbery.
Cannon should have been behind bars, and assuming he was the one who pulled the trigger on June 2, David Dorn would still be alive. But in what has become the rule rather than the exception, Cannon was granted suspended execution of sentence (SES), according to Fox2. Thus, he never served a day in prison.
As a condition of the parole, Cannon was supposed to serve seven years for any subsequent violation. But after he violated his parole in 2018, the judge declined to enforce the sentence.
According to court records, Cannon was arrested for theft in February, yet despite his past criminal record and violating the grace accorded to him, he was out free with a scheduled hearing on June 22.
Liberals in both parties, including Jared Kushner’s pro-criminal team in the White House, always speak of the need for “second chances.” But like so many repeat violent offenders these days, Cannon wasn’t subjected to the full sentence even after violating his extremely generous probation on two separate occasions.
According to police, Cannon was seen on surveillance video pointing a gun at Dorn before Dorn fell to the ground and lay dying on the sidewalk in a horrific video streamed on Facebook. Cannon, who was with a group of people looting a pawn shop that Dorn was defending, was charged with first-degree murder for the death of the 38-year veteran of the St. Louis police force, as well as robbery, burglary, felon in possession of a firearm, and three counts of armed criminal action.
A second suspect who was with Cannon, Jimmie Robinson, was charged with burglary, armed criminal action, and stealing. His bond was set at just $30,000 despite his prior criminal record and parole.
Consider the fact that he was with Cannon at the murder of a retired cop and will be out on just $30,000, while the three cops who were with Chauvin, the one accused of killing George Floyd, are being held on $1 million bond. As former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy observes, in the case of one of those cops, Tou Thao, he is barely mentioned in the criminal complaint and not alleged to have taken any active role in the physical restraint of Floyd. The other two officers, Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng, were undergoing their first week of training on the job with Chauvin and were completely under his command.
Indeed, the time has come for a “three strikes and you’re out” bill. How is it that such jailbreak is occurring in a state like Missouri that Republicans control with super-majorities in the legislature? Where are the bills to ensure that repeat violent offenders and parole-breakers are returned to prison and denied bail?
Just last December, a Missouri circuit judge suspended the 20-year murder sentence of a teenager who killed a retired St. Louis cop. Justin Mathews was convicted of murdering retired St. Louis police Sergeant Ralph Harper in 2018 during a robbery of the officer in front of his nephew’s home. In December 2019, Missouri Circuit Judge Michael Noble suspended the 20-year sentence and ordered the 16-year-old to enter a “program” at juvenile hall, which will enable his release at the age of 21.
Why is there no rush to fix these injustices against forgotten American victims of crime who don’t have the weight of their entire culture demanding justice?
Yesterday, the president held a roundtable with law enforcement and the top White House officials who were responsible for getting him to support jailbreak rather than law and order, including Jared Kushner and domestic policy advisers Brooke Rollins and Ja’Ron Smith. They continuously struck a defensive tone, validating the premise of the Left that somehow the injustice in our system is that we are too tough on criminals, rather than showing how tough-on-crime policies save more lives, particularly black lives in inner cities. At the end of the meeting, Trump referred to Kushner as “my star.”
Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Brooke Rollins was asked TWICE about criticisms that she doesn’t have Trump supporters best interests at heart… and she couldn’t answer the question. Talked about her non-profit work. https://t.co/jUz6Oyfdvu
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) June 8, 2020
Trump needs to pick a side in this debate and have his personnel reflect that reality. Tough-on-crime policies are supported by the overwhelming majority of suburban voters as well as any African-American voters who would ever entertain the idea of voting for the GOP. As recently as last September, 63 percent of Minneapolis residents supported expanding the police force by 850 people, according to one poll, with an even greater share of non-white respondents expressing support. Non-white respondents in particular articulated concern about high crime, which was already increasing in the Twin Cities at the time.
According to the Bureau of Economic Research, 41 percent of black-owned small businesses have been destroyed by the lockdown. Many more were undoubtedly destroyed by the riots. Jared Kushner was part of that failed shadow task force on the coronavirus response and opposed taking a tougher stance on the riots. The results of both policies have been devastating for those black voters most likely to vote for Trump.
Memo to Jared Kushner and his team of Koch associates in the White House: The black vote in general is not congruent with the looting vote, and it’s insulting to insinuate that most African-Americans want your weak-on-crime policies. In fact, the opposite is true. Law-abiding black business owners want low crime and economic opportunity. Now is the time for the White House to push a tough-on-crime bill like Reagan did and seek justice for the forgotten victims of preventable crimes like David Dorn.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.