As the Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning reports, GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez opens his mouth, and the excrement flows once again–this time on a subject that's personal to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and many of his colleagues in state government. An unusual degree of shamelessness, even for Beauprez, who has a long history of wildly inappropriate and false allegations:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez this week linked Gov. John Hickenlooper’s policies to last year’s murder of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was gunned down by parolee Evan Ebel after the white supremacist prison gang member removed his ankle monitor and killed part-time pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon…
“There’s an important piece of a healthy economy that John Hickenlooper’s completely missed. That’s the public safety component,” Beauprez told about 100 supporters gathered at the Tavern Tech Center in Greenwood Village.
“You’ll all remember the name Evan Ebel,” Beauprez continued. “If you don’t remember Evan Ebel, you certainly remember Tom Clements. Tom Clements was our director of Corrections in Colorado. Evan Ebel was paroled directly from — they call it ‘administrative segregation’ — directly from solitary confinement onto our streets, and within a matter of hours, he killed a pizza driver, guy working a second job to try to keep his family whole. Killed him for his uniform, his pizza delivery uniform. Then about 48 hours later, he knocked on Tom Clements’ door and killed him.”
So first of all, Beauprez's story is totally inaccurate. Evan Ebel, the paroled prisoner who killed Colorado Department of Corrections director Tom Clements, was not released "hours" before killing pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon. Ebel was released from Sterling Correctional Facility on January 28th, 2013, but Leon wasn't killed until March 17th. Clements was killed two days later on March 19th, and Ebel died in a shootout with Texas police officers on March 21st.
In the nearly two months between the time Ebel was paroled and started killing, he managed to remove his GPS tracking device, but for reasons still not known, was not immediately picked up by police for that parole violation. Ebel also obtained a gun in early March via an illegal straw purchase by a third party. There's no question that mistakes were made in the handling of Ebel both as a prisoner and as a parolee, but Beauprez's sweeping abridgment of the facts in order to blame Gov. Hickenlooper for Ebel's crimes is nothing short of despicable. Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Beauprez supporter who spoke at the same event, should be ashamed to have even been present–not to mention for failing to correct the record.
Because the truth is:
In an ironic twist, Clements, who headed the state’s prison system for two years before his murder, had made it his mission to reduce the number of prisoners released on parole directly from solitary confinement and boasted shortly before his death that Corrections had cut the share roughly in half. [Pols emphasis] His successor, Rick Raemisch, spent more than 20 hours in solitary confinement and wrote about its damaging effects in a New York Times Op-Ed article earlier this year. According to DOC statistics, the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement in the state has declined from a high of about 1,500 to fewer than 600 earlier this year.
If you're not completely outraged by this, we submit you aren't paying attention. Politicizing a tragedy that befell a public official who was trying, when he died, to change the very thing Beauprez is criticizing? Sure, the First Amendment allows it. But it's so wrong, so utterly loathsome, that it's hard to even describe Beauprez's remarks without a deep sense of revulsion.
We are better than this, folks. Or at least we should be.