Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Letting the cop killers go

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Killing a police officer produces a visceral reaction in most of us. Some would advocate the death penalty, others life without parole. Killing a police officer directly strikes at those who would protect us from criminals. It is the police officer that faces the most danger in protecting our society, and whatever punishment of a murderer of a police officer carries the additional weight of the required protected status of the officer.

On the flip side there are those who see the murder of a police officer as no more than a murder of anyone else, and possibly less so. Among those is Wisconsin Parole Commission Chairman Lenard Wells, who recently pushed through the releases of two killers of a police officer.

The officer, Dennis Obradovich, was shot nine times by these men. He was thirty years old. He died while attempting to stop an armed robbery of a tavern.

The reaction of most people upon hearing of such a crime would be to demand life in prison without parole, or even the death penalty. But Lenard Wells, who had sole discretion on whether to release the two cop killers, decided to set them free. What’s worse, he’s getting ready to release more of them. One of the other killers in the Obradovich murder comes up for parole in January. In a case pending, Ben Sanders took part in the murder of two police officers, and Wells may set him free as well.

On Saturday, Waukesha District Attorney Paul Bucher (and candidate for state attorney general) called on Governor Doyle to demand Wells’ resignation. From his press release:

Attorney General Candidate Paul Bucher called for the resignation of Wisconsin Parole Commission Chairman Lenard Wells due to his outrageous release of two cop killers, saying the decision is “an insult to every law enforcement officer who puts his or her life on the line every single day.” He called on Governor Doyle to demand Wells resignation before more damage can be done.

In the recent cases, Wells ordered the discretionary release of two men who killed Milwaukee police officer Dennis Obradovich during a cocktail lounge robbery in 1975. Obradovich was shot at least 9 times. “It’s outrageous,” Bucher said. “Officer Obradovich only got to live to age 30. Why should his killers now be free?”

It’s a question all of us should be asking Governor Doyle.

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