“Too bad, so sad.” – That’s what I heard when I listened to Candidate for Contra Costa County District Attorney Lawrence Strauss explain why he wouldn’t recommend the death penalty for anyone who flat out ended the life of a law enforcement officer who was performing his/her duties to protect us from harm.

A killer. A cop killer. No death penalty. Why? Strauss said, “I feel sorry for the officer. It’s part of the risk they take as being an officer on the street.” He went on to say, “Unfortunately, I don’t think in those circumstances, I’d recommend the death penalty.”

Mr. Strauss, I invite you to:
• sit in a room filled with officers who dedicate their days and nights to keeping our streets safe,
• ride along with officers who are speeding toward a dangerous situation in which bullets are fired and people are hurt or killed.
• wrap your arms around the stunned deputy who weeps beside his bleeding and dying partner,
• make a split-second decision about whether to fire your weapon at another human being,
• pull a family from their overturned and burning vehicle,
• speak to an officer’s spouse about that first kiss in the morning which could be the last,
• look at the hesitancy and fear in the eyes of an officer’s child as the officer leaves for work.

Mr. Strauss went on to tweet, “Why should a person’s occupation dictate whether or not the death penalty should be imposed?” Being a law enforcement officer is more than an occupation, it is an oath to protect and serve, to lay down one’s life for the safety of others, for the safety of someone you have never even met. Being a law enforcement officer is a commitment to humankind. A law enforcement officer is NEVER off-duty.

Mr. Strauss your comments are not only offensive to some of the finest citizens in the county you aim to serve, they offend each and every person in this country whose job, yes, whose JOB it is to stand between danger (and yes, the threat of death) and those who could be, or are, being harmed. Your words offend law enforcement officers, first responders and members of our armed forces.

Mr. Strauss thinks the death penalty should only be sought in “mass murders, serial killers, and multiple victims.” An assault on a law enforcement officer is an assault on us all. Someone who kills a law enforcement officer is putting a figurative bullet in the hearts of men and women and children everywhere. Officers stand for what our society believes in, and for communities we strive for. You don’t think when an officer is killed in the line of duty there are not multiple victims? Let’s see you stand up in a stadium filled with family, friends, law enforcement officers and community members grieving the loss of an officer and say the words I heard when you made your comments – “Too bad, so sad.”

Attorney Lawrence Strauss made his comments about officers on April 24, 2018, at a forum for the June Contra Costa County District Attorney election. Sponsors of the forum were the Contra Costa County Bar Association and League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley. You can see the entire forum here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eXp071htXg .

And here’s his tweet days later: