Saturday, November 01, 2014

Felons and Guns in Minnesota

A recent report on how judges sentence felons who are convicted of gun crimes in Minnesota reveals some information that is not obvious.    KSTP spent weeks analysing more than 1,800 cases involving crimes with guns and felons in possession of guns in Minnesota.   They found that in many of the situations, no jail time was added because of the gun offense.   One case is presented, which one might assume, would be one of the most egregious.   The suspect, August Fleming, was charged with second degree assault and with being a felon in possession of a firearm.    It is clear that the reporter expects us to be outraged by the judges actions.   When I read the particulars, I initially felt sympathy for the felon.   Surveillance video captured the entire action, so there was no dispute about the facts of the case.   From
Surveillance cameras captured what happened, a pick-up basketball game had turned violent. One man approached August Fleming, who was 20 years old at the time, threatened him with a knife, and cut his cheek. A friend then brought Fleming a backpack. Fleming pulled out a gun and opened fire, pulling the trigger at least six times. One frame of video captured the flash of gunfire.
 Later, the article reveals an important detail:
And he only used the gun when it was presented to him "in the heat of the moment" by a so-called friend -- and at a time (the original assailant) had not ceased his pursuit of Mr. Fleming.
When I researched the case a bit more, I found that once Fleming had the gun in his possession, his assailant turned and ran, and Fleming ran after him, firing repeatedly.   This does much to explain his sentence.  From
Fleming retreated and was nearly off the basketball court when a friend approached with a backpack. Fleming reached in the backpack, pulled out a gun, and ran after the man who slashed him, firing repeatedly, according to the complaint and the surveillance video. No one was struck by the bullets.

When he was 17, Fleming was adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court for helping a friend steal a handgun from a sporting goods store. As a result, he was prohibited from ever owning or even handling a gun.
A man was later charged with second degree assault for stabbing Fleming in the face.  Fleming is a big man, 6-4 tall, and was a high school varsity basketball player.  It is unknown how large the man with the knife was, or what precipitated his attack. 

I discovered more arrests of August Latimothy Fleming.  Later charges include assault, weapons charges, and possession of a controlled substance.   My sympathy evaporated.  

It appears the the rest of society is better off with Mr. Fleming in prison.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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