Judge gives BLM gunman 70 days in jail for shooting at car on highway, wounding several
This is a pattern
During the 2020 George Floyd Riots and surrounding disturbances, BLM protestors set up roadblocks all over America. These roadblocks were located anywhere from small town streets to interstate highways. It was a well-organized and professionally coordinated effort to disrupt travel and intimidate the public. Protestors’ cars and occasionally rental vehicles were used to block onramps in advance. Hundreds of BLM activists would occupy these roads, obstructing all traffic, in a massive show of force. Many of these people were armed. There were several incidents of drivers being shot by the people manning these roadblocks.
On July 28, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado, hundreds of BLM protestors had assembled on Interstate 225. They were unimpeded by local police, who deployed several barriers to “protect” the mob as they blocked traffic.
The mob was nominally in Aurora to protest the death of Elijah McClain. In August of 2019, someone called police after seeing McClain walking down the street wearing a ski-mask and behaving strangely. When police confronted McClain, he resisted them and a lengthy struggle ensued to restrain him.
When paramedics arrived, they administered ketamine in an effort to sedate McClain, but accidentally gave him double the recommended dose. McClain went into cardiac arrest and died in the hospital several days later. The three officers and two EMTs involved in the arrest have been charged with 32 counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The first trial of the men begins tomorrow.
The July 28, 2020 BLM roadblock proceeded uneventfully at first. Professional protestors gathered hundreds of people to block highway, as they had done many times in the past.
That same day, an Aurora resident (I won’t use his name because he’s received numerous threats) was driving a friend to the airport in his Jeep. Finding the highway blocked by barriers set up by police to protect the mob, he turned off the interstate and followed his GPS directions to another on-ramp. He had no idea that there was a protest and assumed that there had been some kind of accident.
Trying to reenter highway, the Jeep driver encountered an impromptu blockade set up by Emily Heydt, part of the demonstration. Heydt participated in the class action “Civil Rights” lawsuit by protestors against the city of Denver after she was hit with pepperballs by city police while violating curfew during the violent demonstrations at the time. The lawsuit was recently settled for $4.7 million, with about $3 million being split up among the protestors and the remaining $1.7 million going to their lawyers. The Jeep driver veered around Heydt’s blockade and Heydt began pursing him on a motorcycle.
The driver slowed as he approached the crowd, which began to part to make way for the Jeep. Then, suddenly, a truck that was part of the demonstration rammed the Jeep. As the Jeep driver tried to get away, members of the mob began to hurl objects at the car. One rioter ran towards the Jeep with a bat. The driver sped up to escape. There was no one in his path and he didn’t make contact with any members of the mob. Then, one of the BLM supporters drew a gun and began firing.
The bullets fortunately missed the occupants of the Jeep, but blew out its tires. Although the truck pursued the Jeep, the driver was able to escape and contact the police. Two members of the mob were with hit with friendly fire by the gunman. Their gunshot wounds were non-fatal. A third was injured when she jumped off the highway in an effort to escape the chaos.
The shooter was Samuel Young, 23. Although it’s difficult to find any information on Young, he was a resident of Wheat Ridge, a nearby suburb. He apparently worked in a Residence Hall at the University of Colorado in Boulder as a “community advisor.” After the shooting, Young dumped the spent shell casings from his revolver off the highway. He fled the scene but turned himself in to police the next day.
Young was charged with several counts of attempted murder and assault. The case against Young was open and shut. He had been caught on film doing the shooting. Video proved that the driver was just trying to escape. Unfortunately, there was virtually no media coverage of the trial. Young appeared to have a large group of supporters attending the proceedings in person. At some point, the charges he faced were reduced from “attempted murder” to “attempted reckless manslaughter.” Both of the people he shot spoke to the court to appeal for lenient treatment.
On April 1, 2021, Young was convicted by the jury of all charges. The prosecution recommended 6 years in prison. However, the judge elected give him just 120 days in the local jail, with a credit of 50 days for time served. 70 days for opening fire on an innocent motorist and wounding several others. He was also given 5 years probation and ordered to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment.
In justifying his decision, District Judge Ben Leutwyler, who was appointed by Democratic Governor (now Senator) John Hickenlooper, stated:
I’ve struggled since the day the jury returned their verdict. This has been an unusual case… I all too often see folks who are repeat offenders. You have no criminal history. You are a young person, 24 years old, well-educated, you have a history of helping others, you’re needed at home. And you shot wholly indiscriminately into a crowd of hundreds of people.
The judge’s phrasing is betrays his enormous political bias. Young was not shooting indiscriminately. He was shooting at a car that was trying to flee the armed roadblock that Young was part of. The victim had already been attacked by other members of the mob and was in the process of escaping. Young was trying to kill the driver and the passenger for daring to get away.
Young has been out of jail for a long time now. His 70 days in a low security facility already came and went. His current whereabouts are unknown.
These people are terrorists. This was a criminal conspiracy. The driver of the truck that rammed the Jeep, Sebastian Sassi, refused to even admit that he was a member of the protest group. He claiming he was “taking the fifth” on that and that he was just a Good Samaritan trying to prevent a vehicle attack. He eventually admitted he was part of the demonstration to police, working for BLM as “security.” His initial statement that he had merely tried to brake check the Jeep were proven to be a lie. Forensic evidence showed that he intentionally accelerated into the Jeep seconds before the collision. Sassi has not been charged with any crime.
If you search for this story online, you will see lots of passive language about how a Jeep “drove into the crowd,” provoking the shooting. The extensive organization and violence of the BLM activists which preceded the gunfire, the Jeep being rammed and attacked with projectiles before being chased by a guy holding a bat, are almost totally unmentioned. BLM had several manned blockades set up. They had pursuit vehicles in place. They had openly armed people circulating throughout the mob. When someone lied to police, they had witnesses ready to back up that lie. This was not a peaceful protest, it was a show of force.
The roadblock on July 28 was just one of many shows of force by organized BLM rioters around the country. Later that evening, a mob of 150 BLM rioters attacked the Aurora municipal center and rampaged through the city. No arrests were made. Aurora mayor Mike Coffman described the rioters as “domestic terrorists” but later retracted his statement under pressure.
To be frank, I don’t care about the members of BLM mob who Young accidentally shot. They got much better than what they deserved. However, this is clearly part of a pattern in which organized leftist political violence is enabled by a dysfunctional justice system and the larger inversion of society.
Police officers and EMTs who accidentally killed someone why trying restrain him are given dozens of felony charges. A political radical who shoots into a car at a roadblock on camera has his attempted murder case thrown out. Leftists go unpunished for vehicle attacks, blocking public roads, and other terroristic behavior while longtime public servants are subjected to kangaroo courts.
There are always going to be some pushover judges and complicit liberal prosecutors. The reason the situation has become so bad in America is that the ideas behind this violence enjoy wide popularity among the “educated” classes. It is essential for Red state legislatures to create a system to expedite and fairly handle these cases. This needs to be done right now, before the situation deteriorates further. Any kind of effective system will take years to implement.
Legislatures need to make clear laws that prohibit these roadblocks and assign severe punishments to deter future participation. Anyone who is part of the roadblocks should go to jail. It is not OK for unarmed “protestors” to hold drivers hostage while gunmen get into position. Just giving them a ticket is not going to cut it. Set mandatory minimum sentences to prevent officials from abusing their discretion. Fat professional women? Little old ladies? Stringy teenagers? They need to go to jail for enabling mob violence too. The entire mob is part of the conspiracy, even if their job is just to take up space and block victims. Interrupt their lives. This behavior is not business as usual.
The punishment for carrying weapons at these roadblocks, regardless of whether or not they’re used, needs to be extremely harsh. Leftists are intentionally creating situations where they obstruct normal life and then shoot at anyone who defies them. This is not self-defense. Conspiring to create one of these fake “protests” should also be a felony. There are hundreds of professional organizers who engineer these dangerous situations. They need to be hauled in front of a court and thrown in jail.
Even the best prosecutors in America are overworked. Judges often have to juggle hundreds of cases. States should invest in a parallel system to handle these incidents quickly, so that convictions can have an actual deterrent effect. Create special courts that can focus specifically on rioting. Hire special prosecutors for whom these cases will be their only jobs. Since riots often occur in areas that are already compromised by political radicalism, allow courts to convene and draw jurors from all over a state to ensure evidence will be considered fairly.
It’s difficult for local police to respond to these roadblocks. They’re often outnumbered 100-to-1. Arresting everyone there, or simply moving them off the road, can take hours. Furthermore, because these blockades often occur in liberal areas, local elected officials usually prevent police from responding at all. State police should create and train huge auxiliary forces, coordinated and commanded at the state level, to quickly respond to these incidents and arrest the perpetrators. It should not be up in the air whether or not you will go to jail for blocking a road with guns. Gunmen should not be able to just wander off after shooting at motorists.
Finally, states should draft new laws that explicitly state drivers are to be held absolutely blameless for trying to escape an illegal roadblock. Rule out a grand jury or criminal investigation of the victim. Allow victims to sue the organizers and organizations that set up these confrontations, along with journalists who lie to smear the victims as aggressors. Everyone knows what goes on at these events. The violence that occurs is not incidental, it’s planned. The operation in Aurora that preceded the shooting was very sophisticated. The groups receive a lot of money to terrorize the public. The public deserves compensation when it is inevitably harmed by this.
As is the case with anything that would actually be effective against leftists, an expedited system will likely be subjected to years of legal battles. It is essential to get the ball rolling now. The rioting Americans saw in 2020 was carefully organized behavior, planned and executed by professionals. Future riots will not die down organically. Red state public officials need to be proactive while they still can.
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