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LEO's death spurs petition for change in judicial system

The petition says judges need to be held accountable for improper decisions


By Scott J. Croteau
MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

YARMOUTH, Mass. — A link to a petition demanding Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and politicians change the judicial system in the wake of Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon's killing has been shared by both the Yarmouth Police Department and Auburn Police Department on social media.

Both departments have lost police officers in the line of duty. Gannon was fatally shot Thursday by a man with more than 100 prior convictions while serving a warrant in the Marstons Mills village of Barnstable, authorities said.

Rain wets the floral tribute to fallen officer Sean Gannon outside the Yarmouth Police Station on Friday, April 13, 2018. (Steve Heaslip /The Cape Cod Times via AP)
Rain wets the floral tribute to fallen officer Sean Gannon outside the Yarmouth Police Station on Friday, April 13, 2018. (Steve Heaslip /The Cape Cod Times via AP)

Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. was fatally shot by Jorge Zambrano on May 22, 2016, after the officer stopped a vehicle on Rochdale Street in Auburn around 12:18 a.m.

Yarmouth Police and Auburn Police both shared a link to a change.org petition on Twitter. Auburn Police included the names of other officers and a Massachusetts State Police trooper killed in the line of duty. The "In Memory of Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr." Facebook page also shared a link to the petition.

The petition, started by Lori Wagner, had more than 17,600 online signatures as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

"The judicial system in this state needs an overhaul. Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for not when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse," the petition reads. "How many known violent criminals are walking freely in public awaiting their next court date instead of sitting in a cell where they belong? 1 is too many. Officer Sean Gannon is the perfect example of why."

Gannon and his K-9 Nero were shot Thursday while serving a warrant with other officers at a home on Blueberry Lane. Authorities say Thomas Latanowich shot Gannon in the head and Nero in the face and shoulder.

Latanowich, 29, was arraigned on a murder charge Friday and held without bail. 

The Yarmouth Police Department posted on Facebook over the weekend that the Massachusetts Criminal Justice system let them down. 

The petition says judges need to be held accountable for improper decisions and criticized the judicial system for having Latanowich out on the streets. Latanowich violated probation on a gun charge.

 

BOLD AS A LION Good Morning! Less than 48 hours ago, a coward took the life of one of our Police Officers. The...

Posted by Yarmouth Police Dept. on Saturday, April 14, 2018

"We the people of Massachusetts want our justice system fixed. it's time we are allowed to feel safe and it is beyond the time for our police officers to have their hard work followed through on the final end--jail for offenders," the petition reads.

Zambrano, the man who fatally shot Tarentino with a stolen gun, had been in court three months before the killing.

A judge discussed Zambrano's violent history toward police during the Feb. 11, 2016 arraignment in Clinton District Court. The judge could have revoked Zambrano's bail, but did not.

The Worcester District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have Zambrano's bail revoked. Bail was instead set at $500 and Zambrano's girlfriend paid the money the same day as his arraignment.

After killing Tarentino, Zambrano hid in an Oxford home and was killed after shooting at Massachusetts State Police troopers. One trooper was shot by Zambrano, but the wound was not fatal.

Zambrano previously served seven years in jail on cocaine distribution and assault on a police officer charges.

©2018 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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