Normally, the murder of Kevin Sutherland in Washington, D.C. on July 4 would not have made big news. However, Sutherland was a member of Washington’s liberal inner circle: he was a staff member at New Blue Interactive, a digital communications strategy firm that supported liberal causes and Democratic candidates. His father, Doug Sutherland, ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for State Representative in Connecticut last year.
Sutherland’s death has resonated inside and outside of the Beltway. It is also a sad reminder of the failure of liberal policies toward criminals and gun control, policies that Sutherland himself endorsed.
On Saturday, July 4, Kevin was stabbed to death on a D.C. subway train platform by Jasper Spires, who was arrested July 6. Police believe Spires was attempting to rob Sutherland, who was waiting for a train to visit friends and celebrate the Independence Day holiday. It was a brazen attack in a public place in the middle of the day. Sutherland, as you can see in the photo included here, is white. Spires is black. This murder, however, is more than just another tragic example of black-on-white crime.
As a liberal political activist, Kevin Sutherland made numerous statements that, in light of his murder, are both tragic and ironic. On June 23, Sutherland retweeted a statement by another Twitter user calling on Walmart to ban the sale of “assault weapons” (which were actually guns with ten round clips). He made numerous tweets calling for gun control after the Charleston shooting. Even with D.C.’s strict gun control laws, that did not help Sutherland. When his murderer could not get a gun, he used a knife to stab him to death.
On Twitter, he criticized the crackdown on rioters in Baltimore, and was upset that they were referred to as “thugs.” At one point, he even sympathized with them, tweeting “This rioting is wrong & hard to justify but I can’t imagine rioting unless I had nothing left to lose, which may say it all.” He often criticized police tactics on criminals and the nation’s high incarceration rate.
It should be noted that Spires was actually arrested by D.C. police just two days before he murdered Sutherland, but he had his charges reduced and he was released on Friday, July 3. Heavy.com provides more details:
According to D.C. police records, Spires, 18, was arrested Thursday on an unrelated charge of robbery using force and violence in Northwest Washington.
Court records show that he was released Friday, July 3, after the charges were reduced to two misdemeanors, simple assault and assault on a police officer. He pleaded not guilty in that case, details of which were not immediately available on Sunday.
In this case, a light hand on a thug’s offenses and an early release from incarceration cost a man his life.
The death of any human being is tragic, and one can only hope Kevin Sutherland’s family and friends are finding peace in this time. At the same time, however, we should take a hard look at how we as a society combat crime and treat our criminals. Sutherland’s positions on gun control, crime, and incarceration met the harsh realities of life on a D.C. train platform. It is a lesson we should wish on no one, and we should strive to ensure it never happens again.