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Progressive Soft-on-Crime Policies Have a Real Human Cost

Police continue manhunt for man suspected of murdering Brianna Kupfer at a Los Angeles furniture store. Credit: 7NEWS Adelaide

One of the most insidious elements of progressive ideas is that many of them sound great until you realize how the policies that come from them are actually deadly. Indeed, these ideas present themselves as an ideological Trojan horse that wreaks havoc once they are put into action.

The progressive position that certain people accused of crimes should not be shackled with exorbitant bail amounts is a prime example. The notion that only rich folks should be able to make bail while poorer suspects languish in prison isn’t exactly popular with Americans, regardless of political affiliation. However, in their supposed effort to make the bail system more equitable, the far-left has ended up creating more victims of violent crimes by releasing dangerous criminals into the street.

One of these victims was UCLA grad student Brianna Kupfer, who was stabbed to death at her job in a furniture store on Tuesday night by alleged suspect Shawn Laval Smith.

The Daily Mail reported:

Brianna was stabbed to death on Thursday afternoon while working alone at the Croft House store on La Brea, just minutes after she texted a friend that a man in the store was ‘giving her a bad vibe’.

Smith is a career criminal with a long rap sheet spanning both coasts, and is currently free on a $1,000 bond from a misdemeanor arrest in Los Angeles County in October 2020, sheriff’s records show.

The report noted that the suspect “was arrested in Covina, California, on October 27, 2020, on a charge of possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.”

“A spokesperson for the Covina Police Department said that Smith was cited and released,” according to the Daily Mail. “It was also unclear why the case still hadn’t been brought to a trial or a plea deal 15 months later.”

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, before taking office in 2020, declared he would stop prosecuting many types of misdemeanors. He, along with many other progressive prosecutors and politicians, has taken criticism for protecting criminals instead of law-abiding civilians.

The Daily Mail reported that the suspect “has a prolific criminal record, with dozens of prior charges in North Carolina and South Carolina.”

The report continued:

Smith’s prior charges on the East Coast include assault with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, assault on a police officer, trespassing, possession of a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanors for larceny and possession of stolen goods. The outcomes of those cases weren’t immediately clear.

He has a history of failing to appear in court, and has been repeatedly arrested on bench warrants. In one case in Charleston, he was convicted in abstentia after skipping court, and does not appear to have served the sentence, which is sealed in court records.

Smith also has charges against him in San Francisco and San Mateo related to allegations that he assaulted a police officer.

LAPD officers indicated the suspect had been seen walking in the area, entering several stores. They believe he may have targeted Brianna because she was working alone.

From The Daily Mail:

Brianna, 24, was working alone at the luxury Croft House furniture store in LA’s upmarket Fairfax neighborhood on Thursday when the killer entered at about 1.50pm and stabbed her to death before making his escape through the back door.

Twenty minutes later, another customer walked into the store and found her in a pool of blood. By the time police arrived, she was dead.

Surveillance video taken in a nearby 7-Eleven, about four miles from the crime scene, showing the suspect calmly buying a vape pen. The footage was taken after the murder occurred.

Smith was apprehended on Wednesday after the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched a manhunt to arrest him, KTTV’s Bil Melugin reported:

Todd Kupfer, the victim’s father, slammed the city’s lax crime policies, intimating that they led to his daughter’s murder. He told Fox News:

“I blame what’s endemic in our society right now, is that everybody seems to be oriented on giving back rights and bestowing favor on people that rob others of their rights.”

He continued, contending that it is the job of politicians “to make communities better, to make people care more, not to tear down communities by exposing them to people that are falling out the bottom, that really don’t care about other human beings and just think they can do whatever they like in our society.”

The father also explained that the crime rate in the city has been on the rise. The Daily Mail noted, “The murder comes amid a huge crime surge in Los Angeles, with homicides in Los Angeles rising 52 per cent last year from 2019, and shooting incidents were up 59 per cent, according to LAPD data.”

This, and many other cases, are unfortunate examples of what happens when bail reform goes wrong. Kupfer’s story comes only months after a man drove an SUV into a crowd of people participating in a Christmas rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It was later revealed that the suspect, Darrell Brooks, was released on a $1,000 bond in relation to a case in which he allegedly attempted to run over his girlfriend before assaulting a police officer.

This isn’t to say bail reform is not a valid idea. Indeed, if done in a sensible way, it can be more just to those who lack the resources to secure their bond. However, the way progressives have applied these policies has only served to place more civilians in danger. They have shown they are willing to expose everyday law-abiding Americans to violence in the name of “equity.” Unfortunately, until these officials are removed from office, it seems unlikely this issue will ever change.