LANCASTER (AP) — The mayor of Lancaster claimed Thursday that a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who served his area until being shot to death on duty last week would be alive if not for Gov. Jerry Brown’s “realignment” plan to reduce the state prison population. The governor’s spokesman said the mayor’s “wild claims” are baseless.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris was interviewed by Los Angeles radio station KNX-AM before a memorial service for his friend, Sgt. Steven Owen, who was shot while answering a burglary call on Oct. 5. Trenton Trevon Lovell, on parole for an armed robbery conviction, has been charged with murder.

Brown attended the memorial and Parris said it was telling that the governor was not among the speakers.

“You know, he’s attending and as well he should attend, he should honor Steve Owen,” Parris said. “But nobody wants to hear him speak because the truth of the matter is Steve Owen would be alive today but for the governor’s involvement in getting early releases.”

Brown’s spokesman, Evan Westrup, said the governor does not usually give remarks at funerals for fallen officers, but appears to pay respect on behalf of all Californians.

“This is a time for mourning, not a time to advance a political agenda,” Westrup said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. “Mr. Parris’s wild claims have no basis in fact.”

Brown signed the realignment bill in 2011 in response to federal judges’ orders to thin overcrowded state prisons. It was aimed at reducing the number of lower-level offenders and parole violators who cycled through state prisons by instead having county officials handle their punishment.

Westrup noted Lovell’s armed robbery conviction in 2009 came before Brown signed the bill, which stipulated no inmates currently in state prison would be released early, and all felons convicted of serious or violent offenses would continue going to state prison.

Lovell has been on parole since 2014, when he was freed from prison after serving roughly five years of a six-year sentence for robbing a university community safety officer at gunpoint.

Prior to realignment, Lovell could have gone back to prison as a parole violator. Earlier this year, he pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and a county judge sentenced him to 13 days in jail and three years’ probation.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (9)
  1. Dan Prato says:

    Mr. Parris you are exactly right. Our useless governor hasn’t got a clue as to the repercussions of letting violent animals out of prison early. Or not violating their parole for violations. This governor is a useless POS.

  2. ZumaMom says:

    California is on a fast track to being like Detroit and Chicago.

  3. I blame the war on drugs for creating the overcrowded condition to begin with, I mean, if we’re going down that road. Really though, I think the understandably emotional mayor just talked before he could think

  4. KassG says:

    “Prior to realignment, Lovell could have gone back to prison as a parole violator…..” So there is some basis to his claim. Typical Democrat spin machine. Just wait for 57 to be shoved on down our throats. And with Hillary as President, you’ll be unarmed when more “non violent” offenders are realeased. But the police will protect you 👍

  5. Sandra says:

    He should have been sentenced as a career criminal. With a gang enhancement.

  6. Ed says:

    We agree with Lancaster mayor, it is a contradiction; criminals are left to run amok while law abiding citizens are demonized for supporting the constitutions guarantees of firearm ownership.

    1. Exactly, Ed. That thousands of potential murder suspects are on the loose with the general population, and the regular citizenry is disarmed little by little- will create anarchy. Whatever the ostensible reasons behind the criminal release program- the end result IS the true goal. Regardless of what they say, the bogus claims, the results are ALWAYS their covert goals. If they weren’t their goals, they would have altered their game plan, which they will not, and haven’t.

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