BOSTON (CBS) – The wake for slain police officer Sean Gannon will be held Tuesday afternoon at St. Pius Church in Yarmouth. His funeral mass will follow Wednesday. And the horrendous circumstances of his murder raise important questions for all of us.
First and foremost, what is wrong with a criminal justice system that allowed his alleged murderer to be out and about after a criminal career that included more than a hundred charges, many of them involving violent crimes and guns? He was described two years ago as “a notorious and violent criminal,” and in a posting on their Facebook page the Yarmouth police wrote: “The Massachusetts criminal justice system has let us down and failed to protect our community and our department.”
Coincidentally on Beacon Hill, lawmakers are congratulating themselves for passing a landmark criminal justice reform bill aimed at erasing over-sentencing and other inequities in the system. Perhaps they’ve done the right thing, but have they done anything to prevent future atrocities like this one?
We still don’t have all the details of the encounter that led to Officer Gannon’s murder, but we do know that it was the worst nightmare of every cop, that behind the door they knock on or inside the car they pull over there may be a cold-blooded murderer with a gun.
As we hold police accountable for cases of excessive force, we should also remember the nature of this threat, and pursue better ways to ensure the survival of our police even as we demand justice for all.
Today and tomorrow, you will hear Officer Gannon’s admirers insist he will never be forgotten. Let’s also remember to address the serious issues his murder raises.