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Horowitz: Cpl. Keith Heacook from Biden’s home state should be the next George Floyd

Op-ed
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Cpl. Keith Heacook. Say his name, because the president of the United States won't utter it, even though this officer was beaten to death in Biden's own home state by a career violent criminal. For that matter, I can't find too many Republicans mentioning this and turning Keith Heacook's murder into the "Back the Blue" version of George Floyd. And in this case, this particular tragedy actually reflects a broader "systemic" ill in our society that requires true "criminal justice reform."

Heacook's murder by an "unarmed" violent career criminal while responding to a 911 call touches upon nearly everything broken in our criminal justice deterrent, which is threatening to endanger the lives of cops and civilians more and more in the coming months.

Just weeks away from retirement, Cpl. Heacook, a Delmar, Maryland, police officer, responded to a 911 call that Randon Wilkerson was beating on roommates in a shared home on Sunday, April 25. Heacook responded to what he clearly knew was a violent situation all alone while it was still dark. As my TheBlaze colleague Sarah Taylor reported at the time, the budget for these small-town police is so small that the officer was forced to respond to a violent situation alone.

Also, because Delmar on the Delaware side is so understaffed, Heacook, who was from Delmar on the Maryland side, in Wicomico County, wound up responding. A retired Wicomico County police officer who spoke with TheBlaze on condition of anonymity said that because the city of Delmar does not have 24-hour service, the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office handles calls and dispatches officers when there is nobody available on the Delaware side. Officers of the Delmar police force have to be sworn in both in Maryland and Delaware.

Based on the information available and from other victims who were later attacked, it appears that Wilkerson somehow overpowered Heacook and allegedly beat him with his own baton and then throat-stomped him while he was on the ground. He later died of his horrific injuries. Wilkerson then allegedly broke into a house across the street and severely beat an elderly couple who gave the original eyewitness account of Wilkerson's attack on Officer Heacook.

It's not clear if Heacook was ambushed or if he confronted Wilkerson head-on, but this likely represents the exact opposite of the Floyd case — a much more common phenomenon — when police go out of their way to use underwhelming force and decline to draw their guns even when confronted alone by a strong and violent criminal. It also demonstrates how often police head into violent situations without a partner because police are already so understaffed and undermanned. This further incentivizes criminals to fight rather than cooperate.

For every single cop who uses too much force, how many use too little force, and how many more are increasingly likely to do so when confronted with black suspects? Heacook's cousin made this point very eloquently at the memorial service Monday.

"If Cpl. Heacook had to take the [bad] actor's life, what would have happened to his life?" asked cousin Larry Schwartz, a former cop himself. "It would've been hell. The media would've been here in full force ... 'Unarmed this, unarmed that' every night without fail."

"Keith would have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation was conducted," he continued. "That investigation would have taken weeks, if not months, to complete. During that time, Keith's life would have been put under a microscope, as it's easy for folks who have no idea about police work. His family would be shunned. Even when Keith was cleared, that does not generate enough news."

One has to wonder if this is what went through his mind and if this is why he hesitated. How many police homicides are the result of such hesitation driven by the politics of mob rule rather than prudent instincts to survive? We will never know because these cases seldom get reported, but they will likely become more numerous as time goes on.

But there is one other important element to this story. As Sarah Taylor reported, Wilkerson had at least 38 arrests but doesn't appear to have served much time in prison. So not only are police understaffed and forced to make arrests alone with insane rules of engagement if the suspect is black, but there are more violent criminals out on the streets than ever before because of "criminal justice reform."

Liberals often want to know why so many encounters that should be peaceful have to turn out deadly. The answer is because repeat violent offenders will turn anything into a deadly encounter, and now police are exponentially more likely to run into them because they are not in jail. The result is that either the cop is forced to shoot them, or, as the Heacook case shows, they will increasingly put themselves in danger against their own survival instincts so their families won't be destroyed by the media and the Black Lives Matter lynch mob.

To this day, there are no follow-up media articles on this story. To this day, Joe Biden has not uttered a word about this police officer who was brutally murdered in his own state. To this day, there are no calls for police reform to make sure police have the manpower, training, and rules of engagement to protect their lives against the growing number of violent criminals. To this day, there is no call to bring back "three strikes and you're out" for criminals who keep reoffending.

In a moral and just society, Keith Heacook, who, unlike Floyd, truly did live an exemplary life, would be remembered by every American schoolchild, and his death would spawn an even greater global movement for true police and criminal justice reform on behalf of victims, not criminals.
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