In 2015, then-President Barack Obama commuted the life sentence of a Chicago drug dealer. Eight years later, that same dealer has now been charged with attempted murder and may soon be charged with murder itself.
The man, 54-year-old Alton Mills, was originally “arrested in 1993 on federal conspiracy charges as part of a crack cocaine conspiracy,” according to local station WMAQ.
“Due to two previous convictions of possession of less than five grams of crack cocaine, prosecutors filed a sentence enhancement, which led him to be sentenced to life in prison without parole,” the station reported Friday.
Decades later, the Obama administration launched a clemency initiative for ostensibly low-level federal inmates “who were sentenced at the height of the war on drugs and would likely receive substantially lower sentences today,” according to the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Mills’ case was assigned to Kimberly-Claire Seymour, who at the time “was doing multiple practicums and externships with the Federal Defenders Program.”
“The team here reviewed hundreds of cases that came from our district, and pulled out a select few folks who were serving the longest terms of incarceration and whose circumstances were particularly shocking. Alton Mills was one of those individuals,” she told the Pritzker School of Law in 2017.
With her help, Mills won his commutation in December 2015 and was subsequently released in 2016 after serving only 22 years.
It took a while, but Mills eventually bounced back.
“Last year, Mills secured a job detailing buses overnight with the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA)’s Second Chance Program, an initiative aimed at offering full-time employment and training for future careers for individuals facing barriers to employment. Mills hopes to become a certified diesel mechanic for the CTA,” the Pritzker School of Law reported in 2017.
By 2018, Democrats like Sen. Dick Durbin were using Mills’ story to push for federal prison reform:
The life story of Chicagoan Alton Mills shows why we need to pass the #FirstStepAct. Alton, who received a pardon from President Obama in 2015, was destined to spend his life in prison. He’s now a contributing member of society. #cjreform pic.twitter.com/QZxvYkmK6t
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) December 18, 2018
“An overlooked casualty in our ‘war on drugs’ are the men and women who have been convicted under disproportionately harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws,” Durbin said at the time.
“One such man is Alton Mills, who served more than two decades of a mandatory life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, a punishment even the sentencing judge disagreed with. I commend Alton for the bravery he has shown in choosing to tell his story, and I am honored to welcome him to Washington this week,” he added.
But it appears that, somewhere along the way, Mills predictably decided to turn to the dark side AGAIN.
Fast-forward to the early morning hours of May 14th, 2023, when “three friends left a nightclub in south suburban Harvey, and one of them drove the group home,” as reported by CWBChicago, a local investigative news outlet.
At one point, their Ford Explorer pulled up behind Mills’ SUV at a red light. But when the light turned green, Mills just sat there, so the group drove around him and continued on their way. Then the absolutely unimaginable happened.
“Mills sped to catch up to the Explorer, pulled up next to them, and fired shots from his driver’s window,” according to CWBChicago.
The bullet struck a woman sleeping in the Explorer’s back seat, leaving her brain dead and not expected to survive.
“The Explorer’s front passenger told police that the shooter was an older Black man with a salt and pepper beard. She also took a blurry picture of the gunman’s license plate and recorded a video in which she read the license plate number out loud,” CWBChicago notes.
Using this information, the authorities quickly tracked the shooting to Mills and subsequently arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder.
The public is reminded that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
— IllinoisStatePolice (@ILStatePolice) May 17, 2023
Critics are now calling for consequences for Obama as per his decision to release Mills back into the community.
I hope this family sues Obama and his organization!!!
— DellaP (@della27504) May 20, 2023
Obama should also stand trial. His actions allowed the crime to take place. Accessory to murder.
— Linda Walters Atkinson (@lgwa12345) May 20, 2023
The victim’s family should sue @BarackObama in Civil Court, let’s get subpoenas on his bank records too
— Matthew Aaron (@theAlphaAddict) May 19, 2023
Thanks to the foolish decision of @BarackObama to commute the sentence of this hardened criminal, a woman is now dead.
— Kevin Robot (@KevintheRobot) May 20, 2023
The judge got it right the first time and he never should have stepped out of prison. Durbin and Obama should be sharing a cell with that POS for their part in the crime.
— Rick Charles (@Rickrphm) May 20, 2023
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