The more information that comes out about accused cop-killer Maurice Clemmons, the more it feels as if the Sunday's tragic murder of four Lakewood officers was preventable. Now, added to that mountain of missed opportunities, comes news of the disturbing things Clemmons told a pair of Western State psychologists on October 19th.
Western State psychologists determined Clemmons was dangerous, but not crazy.
According to unsealed documents obtained by the Tacoma News-Tribune, Clemmons told the two shrinks that he hallucinated about "people drinking blood and people eating babies, and lawless on the street, like people were cannibals." So how could they claim "insufficient grounds" to commit him?Well, for one, Clemmons' baby-eating quotes aren't fully in context. The shrinks visited him in his Pierce County jail cell as part of a court-ordered evaluation to determine if he was competent enough to stand trial on charges of assault and child rape. But this AP report doesn't mention that Clemmons' self-reported hallucinations occurred at the time of his arrest, five months before the evaluation. A time when he also claimed to be kin with Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and Lebron James and referred to himself as "the beast."
For another, according to Kris Flowers, spokesperson for Western State, the psychologists were there to determine if Clemmons was presently sane. The job of figuring out if he'd gone crazy back in May wouldn't come until two weeks later, when a Pierce County judge ordered a follow-up evaluation to determine if Clemmons had committed the crimes under (technical term alert) "diminished capacity."
When a suspect's sanity is questioned it triggers a long, methodical process. The Western State psychologists didn't drop the ball. It's just that in the midst of doing their due diligence and trying to come up with an answer, Clemmons provided one of his own.