Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty slammed the Colorado Department of Corrections in a letter that also outlined the decision not to charge the Longmont police officer who shot Leon Gladwell.
Gladwell, who was convicted of murdering his grandmother in 1998, was inexplicably granted parole before being shot by officers in September after he detonated an explosive device in a Longmont hotel room.
The Boulder Democrat called Gladwell’s early release “troubling” given his violent conduct in prison and membership in the Sureños gang.
“The decision to release Mr. Gladwell at this point in his sentence is troubling, particularly with his violent conduct in prison and lack of support accessible to him in the community,” DA Michael Dougherty said in the decision letter. “We are fortunate that no one died as a result of his actions on Sept. 24.”
Dougherty told the Colorado Sun it doesn’t appear the Polis administration released Gladwell early because of the COVID crisis, raising even further questions as to why he was granted parole.
Dougherty, in an interview with The Colorado Sun, said it doesn’t appear Gladwell was released early because of the coronavirus crisis, which prompted Polis to order prisons to reduce the state’s capacity. The governor has been facing pressure from prosecutors and law enforcement not to release more prisoners at the same time criminal justice advocates have asked him to let more people out to reduce the risk of prison outbreaks.
In other words, the Department of Corrections inexplicably released a known violent gang member and has provided no public justification for why they put innocent lives at risk.
While there isn’t evidence yet this decision was tied to COVID, if it was, immediate transparency is in order so Coloradans can be aware of other potentially risky inmates who may have been released under similar circumstances.
If this all sounds outrageous to you, it should. We can only hope that Polis’ soft-on-crime incompetence doesn’t end up getting someone killed.