There are few things as tragic as when a police officer is shot or killed in the line of duty. But what about when an officer’s assailant isn’t given the expected punishment? That’s what Detroit Police Officer Arthur Matthews thinks of the 14 to 25 year sentence handed out to Christopher Proctor.
Proctor, 25, was convicted of shooting Officer Matthews five times on the morning of May 6, 2011. Matthews was at a gas station filling his car and said Proctor came up to him, gun in hand, and demanded all of his cash. Proctor held a gun to his head and threatened to shoot him if he tried to do anything. After Matthews tried to wrestle the gun away from him, Proctor shot the officer five times in the legs and side. Officer Matthews is still feeling the effects of those wounds.
According to an article in the The Detroit News, Michigan law states: “Any person who shall assault another with intent to commit the crime of murder, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for life or any number of years.”
But Proctor did not receive life in prison and Matthews thinks that it’s “insulting.” He told The News, “There’s a sea of emotions I’ve had since this happened,” said Matthews, who has been on disability since the shooting. “The (sentence) has been whittled down to 14 years. I find that very insulting. That’s kid gloves, not attempted murder.”
He also spoke directly to Wayne Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin after the sentencing, asking him, “This is the message you send to police officers when we try to do our jobs? I don’t expect any remorse from the defendant, but I did expect justice from this court.”
And while Judge Boykin opted for a lesser sentence, he won’t explain why other than he came to his decision after receiving “numerous letters from Mr. Proctor’s family.” He also said, “While this is a heinous offense, and Officer Matthews has suffered an injury that will probably never heal … we’ve got guidelines that are very lenient.”
Matthews doesn’t agree. In his words, “The guidelines aren’t lenient, the judge was lenient.”
We want to know what you think of this sentencing. Is a 14 to 25-year prison sentence severe enough for someone who shot a police officer? Sound off in the comments.