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Democrats In Washington State Advocate For Reducing Murder Penalties, Citing “Racial Equity” In The Criminal Justice System

The left’s drive to promote “racial equity” could get people killed, at least in one liberal state.

According to The Center Square, two Democratic lawmakers in Washington state, Reps. Tarra Simmons and David Hackney, have proposed a bill that would erase drive-by shootings as a reason for issuing stiffer penalties for first-degree murder cases.

The lawmakers are pushing this bill as violent crime in Washington and other blue states surges because of policies that hobble law enforcement or go lighter on criminals. They maintain they’re doing so to promote “racial equity in the criminal legal system,” even as it’s unclear how the bill does that – except by letting violent felons back on the streets.

As Center Square reported, under current Washington law, a first-degree murder conviction in a drive-by shooting is elevated to aggravated murder in the first degree, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Washington abolished the death penalty in 2018.

Center Square noted that penalties for drive-by killings were increased in 1995, as the state witnessed a spike in such cases.

Now, Republican Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber said this bill comes as violent crime in the state has reached a 25-year high, murders hit an all-time high in 2020 by rising 80 percent from just five years ago, and aggravated assaults are up by half from five years ago.

According to Seattle-based conservative talk-radio host Jason Rantz, Simmons explained that first-degree murder “is a heinous crime which already carries a long and serious sentence.” “It’s clear that [the additional penalty] was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and Black.” Such a policy constitutes “systemic racism,” she argued.

“Murder is murder no matter where the bullet comes from, but locking children up and throwing away the key is not the answer,” Simmons added.

Rantz also noted that the bill is retroactive.

It would reduce punishment for those who have already been convicted in drive-by shooting cases. And it features provisions to release felons from prison if they committed their violent crimes when they were under 21.

“Why are some elected officials so intent on making it easier to be a violent criminal and releasing murderers back onto our streets?” GOP Rep. Maycumber told Center Square.

“With numerous editorials, columns, newspapers articles, radio and television stories highlighting these dangerous bills, you’d think the Legislature had learned its lesson. But here we are again, at the cusp of adopting new policies to coddle criminals at the expense of our safety.”

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