Syverson, Rowe seek death penalty for those accused of fatally shooting cops: 'This war on police officers must end'

Written by: Glenn Minnis | Originally Published by: Kankakee Times | Link to original article here.


Just days after two local police officers were shot to death in separate incidents, GOP state Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) is pushing to have the death penalty reinstalled in Illinois.


“This war on police officers must come to an end,” Syverson posted on Facebook shortly after the two Illinois officers were fatally wounded in separate incidents within hours of one another. “... Without the rule of law you have chaos. The damage done by those leaders pushing their defund police agenda, and putting criminals above law-abiding citizens, is being felt nationwide. We need to stand behind law-enforcement that put their lives on the line every day protecting us.”


Syverson’s plan revolves around enacting legislation that would make the punishment legal again in Illinois for individuals found guilty of killing police officers.


On the morning of Dec. 29, Wayne County Sheriff Deputy Sean Riley was killed when he was shot while responding to an early-morning motorist assist call on Interstate 64. Police have since charged 40-year-old Ray Tate, who is also accused of taking the officer’s vehicle which was later found abandoned on the interstate, 14News reported.


Tate has also been fingered as the gunman in an earlier shooting where the male victim’s vehicle was also stolen.


Shortly after news of Riley’s death, word came that 49-year-old Bradley Police Department Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic had also been gunned down in an attack that also left her 27-year-old partner, Tyler Bailey, critically wounded, ABC7 reported. Both were attacked while responding to a call of dogs barking in an unattended car in the parking lot at the Comfort Inn off of Route 50.


Authorities said the officers went to the hotel room where the car's owner was staying and were immediately opened fire upon by someone inside the room.


Over the New Year’s Day holiday weekend, police in Indiana took suspects Darius Sullivan, 25, and Xandria Harris, 26, into custody in connection with the shooting.


Authorities said after shooting Bailey in the head, Sullivan chased Rittmanic down the hall and pumped two shots into the officer as she lay on the ground already wounded and pleading for her life.  She had served with the Bradley Police Department for 14 years, according to ABC7.


The Kankakee County State's Attorney office has already requested that federal prosecutors pursue the death penalty against both Sullivan and Harris, with State’s Attorney Jim Rowe leading the charge after formally filing first-degree murder charges against both.


“I am also requesting that the United States Attorney file federal murder charges against Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris and seek a punishment of death,” he posted on Facebook. “There is recent precedent for the United States pursuing the death penalty for the murder of a law enforcement officer (US v. Stephen Wiggins, Middle District of Tennessee, 2018); and precedent for pursuing a federal sentence of death in non-death penalty states (US v. Brent Christensen, Central District of Illinois, 2018). That clear precedent and the nature of the offenses in this case give me hope that our US Attorney will pursue a death sentence in these matters. For our part, we will prosecute Darius Sullivan and Xandria Harris and seek a sentence of life in prison.”


The death penalty was banned in Illinois in 2011, when then-governor Pat Quinn signed off on legislation outlawing the practice.