Americans remain deeply divided about how to respond to and prevent gun violence.
This is a follow-up to our September 17 post, in which we discussed a proposal to create a specialized “gun court” in St. Louis.
In this post, we will take note of recent concerns expressed by Sam Dotson, the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, regarding how authorities respond to violent gun crimes.
Making use of the one of the common media forms of this age, Chief Dotson used his blog as a forum for making his concerns known.
The chief published a post called “The Sad Truth That I wish Was Fiction: Another Chief’s Rant.” In the post, Chief Dotson discussed the case of a man with three offenses involving gun violence in the space of six years.
According to Chief Dotson, the man had served a total of three years for the three offenses. The chief said he was angry that the man had received sentences requiring so little prison time.
Chief Dotson also said he was bothered by the fact that evidentiary problems kept prosecutors from charging the man with a drive-by shooting that occurred last year.
The chief said the man who allegedly did that shooting was recently arrested again, this time on a weapons charge. The man was released on bail, however, and that too bothered the chief.
It is not our purpose in this blog to offer extended commentary on particular views of how the criminal justice system functions in the St. Louis area. We would merely note that, like everyone else, Chief Dotson is certainly entitled to his opinion.
It should also noted, however, that the justice system is not only complex, It also deals in many raw emotions. Chief Dotson’s blog shows him grappling with the emotions of the moment, and that transparency is probably a good thing.
Source: Riverfront Times, “Police Chief Sam Dotson Rants Against Courts Mishandling St. Louis Gun Crimes,” Lindsay Taylor, Nov. 25, 2013