Two years ago, Kamari Pleasant received probation for a felony gun case in Cook County, Illinois. It is home to Chicago where some of toughest gun laws are in place. Yet, somehow that young man was given probation.
That usually wouldn’t be a problem. If the prosecutor and police looked at the circumstances and discovered extenuating circumstances that would justify leniency, that’s wonderful. In Pleasant’s case, police allegedly found a handgun in his car during a traffic stop, according to CWB Chicago.
There was nothing to suggest that he had used the gun in a crime or even committed a crime. His life didn’t need to be ruined with a felony conviction simply because he had a gun in his car.
So, Pleasant was given probation and a chance to stay out of trouble.
“Less than three weeks after receiving that gift, Pleasant thought it a good idea to fire a machine gun at Chicago police officers who chased him on the city’s South Side,” according to Law Enforcement Today.
Chicago police responded to a complaint from someone who said three men were going into the park with guns in order to shoot gang rivals. Police spotted the men leaving the park, and the three men opened fire on the police.
“The police found Pleasant hiding under a pile of leaves near a pistol that had been converted to generate fully-automatic gunfire,” CWB reported. “It was equipped with a 22-round magazine. Tests revealed gunshot residue on Pleasant’s hands, and prosecutors said that 19 shell casings found in the park are “a ballistics match” to the gun.”
The investigation found that at least 25 shots had been directed at the police who did not return fire.
Now, it wasn’t a case of showing mercy or cutting a young man some slack. He had tried to kill multiple police officers. He was charged with multiple felonies and attempted murders.
“Again, Pleasant has managed to cut a deal with prosecutors. So serious does the Cook County DAs office take gun crime in Chicago that Pleasant had 27 counts of attempted murder, along with ten other felonies dropped,” according to Law Enforcement Today.
He pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated discharge of a firearm toward a police officer. This was a pittance of what he actually did and tried to do. He was sentenced to 12 years in jail, although he is eligible for parole in 2023.
And if he does get parole? What then? Will he escalate his violence again? Will someone wind up dead this time?
This case would have been the right time for Chicago’s tough gun laws to be used for justice. Instead, Pleasant nearly walked away from it a free man. Meanwhile, the District Attorney’s Office would have been happy to prosecute an ordinary citizen who had a gun for protection against people like Pleasant.
Certainly given how easy the District Attorney’s Office went on Pleasant, citizens certainly need to protect themselves. The city prosecutors won’t.
Meanwhile, police officers continue to be expected to put their lives on the line to arrest criminals only to watch liberal prosecutors fail to live up to their name and prosecute.
Michael A. Letts is the CEO and Founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.