Five inmates could face stiffer sentences for applauding an alleged cop killer after video of their performance was forwarded to the sheriff’s office, The Associated Press reported.
Shomari Legghette, 44, stands accused of killing Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, according to WITW-TV. Police say he killed the officer Feb. 12 near the city’s Thompson Center after a foot pursuit.
Legghette — who already has four felony convictions spread over more than 20 years — made his first court appearance on Thursday.
When he returned, he received a sick response from other inmates in the Cook County Jail’s holding cell. The audio isn’t available, but their actions speak pretty loudly:
Sheriff's official says 5 inmates could face stiffer punishment at sentencing after being caught on video in “disgraceful” act of applauding as suspect in fatal shooting of #Chicago police commander was led by their cell. https://t.co/uo8v2V3oCm pic.twitter.com/v5arlEDA7M
— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) February 16, 2018
If these inmates thought that their behavior would be without consequence, they were sadly mistaken.
“The conduct that those detainees engaged in was disgraceful… and speaks to their character,” said Cara Smith, chief policy officer for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
“We feel it should be considered by prosecutors in connection with their sentencing.”
The video has already been transferred to prosecutors, along with a report about the prisoners’ behavior, for use before the court if the men are convicted. And that’s not the only thing that’s been transferred.
Five of the inmates have already been moved from the Cook County jail to a facility in the southern part of Illinois, where it will be more difficult for family and friends to visit them.
While Smith said that the inmates’ clapping could be considered a “factor of aggravation,” one defense attorney said their conduct was protected under the First Amendment.
“These inmates … no matter how vile or disgusting you may think their expression is, they have an absolute right under the First Amendment to express those feelings and it is a violation of their rights as citizens to penalize them or consider that as aggravation,” Steve Greenberg, a prominent Chicago defense attorney, told the AP.
We’ll see about that one. Character has always played a major part in prosecutorial and judicial discretion. It speaks deeply to these inmates’ character when they applaud a man who stands accused of killing a 31-year veteran of the police force who simply wanted to question him. Either way, it’s an epic response from a sheriff that refuses to let inmates applaud the murder of a law enforcement officer — and one that likely makes these thugs wish they’d stayed silent.
As for Legghette, it’s unlikely anything will make a difference in his sentencing, should he be convicted. The law deals harshly with cop killers.
Legghette stands charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer, armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of a controlled substance. Given that Illinois isn’t a death penalty state, that means he’ll almost certainly be spending the rest of his life behind bars if he’s found guilty.
All the applause in the world from all of the degenerates in prison won’t be able to change that.
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree with this sheriff and think there should be consequences for this sick act.
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