The Missouri Democratic Party’s new leader called for the release of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and, as a state legislator in 2017, vocally opposed a law that heightened penalties for those who harm police officers.
Former state representative Clem Smith became acting party chair in early July after county prosecutor Jean Peters Baker stepped down from the role. While working as a United Auto Workers secretary in 2008, Smith signed a Partisan Defense Committee letter calling for the “immediate freedom” of Abu-Jamal, who is serving life imprisonment without parole after murdering Philadelphia officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
As a state legislator, Smith also rallied against a 2017 bill that imposed tougher penalties on those who harm police officers. The bill reclassified voluntary manslaughter against a police officer from a “class B” felony to a “class A” felony and also made rioting against police—previously a misdemeanor—a “class E” felony. Smith voted against the bill, saying that if the law was in effect during the 2014 Ferguson riots, “we’d have to build another prison.” His Twitter profile depicts a police vehicle damaged by fire and explosives that appears to stem from the riots. more