Police chief & Mayor want tougher laws for repeat offenders - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Police chief & Mayor want tougher laws for repeat offenders

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Chief Mullen and Mayor Riley during Thursday's press conference. Chief Mullen and Mayor Riley during Thursday's press conference.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and City of Charleston Police chief Greg Mullen pushed for tougher laws aimed at keeping repeat offenders off of the streets.

This call for action comes in the wake of the officer-involved shooting that happened in West Ashley Saturday night. Police say 26-year-old Mark Blake, Jr. fled on foot after being pulled over by Charleston police officer Cory Goldstein. During the foot chase, police say Blake shot at Goldstein multiple times, hitting the officer in the chest, arm and leg.

The suspect was out on bond from a February charge of trafficking heroine. Since 2012, Blake has been charged with six different crimes including illegal possession of a handgun.The police Chief said the system is failing to keep repeat offenders off of the street.

"Every agency across the state should be outraged," Mullen said.

Mullen said the phone call he received Saturday night alerting him of the shooting is one on Chief ever wants. He said the incident made him "physically ill."

"To receive the call that an officer has been shot or killed is the call a police chief never wants to receive. However, when it does occur, and you learn that the offender was released on multiple bonds for repeated violent offenses, it makes you angry," Mullen said.

Mayor Riley also strongly expressed his frustration with the system for continuously letting repeat offenders out in the community.

"This hoodlum, with a gun, not telling what he was up to, having been arrested within a year of two different arrests of serious drug charges. The fact that he is out there is an insult to the community of South Carolina," Riley said.

Both the Mayor and the Chief want lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 19, which is being sponsored by SC Senator Robert Ford. The bill states that if a person commits violent crime while out on bond, the hearing must be held in circuit court, instead of bond court.  It also states that if a person commits a violent crime while out on bond, that suspect will face a mandatory, minimum sentence of five years in prison. The bill is currently in a Senate subcommittee, and Mullen is urging everyone to push for the bill to be passed.

"Today I challenge every police chief, every sheriff, and every police officer serving in South Carolina to make their voices heard about this matter, Mullen said."

According to Mullen, Goldstein is recovering with his family. He did not give a time frame for Goldstein's return, and said his department is working to make sure Goldstein and his family have all of the support they need.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is now handling the investigation. A spokesperson for the agency tells News 2 that Blake has been denied bond for the attempted murder charge. The suspect is still in the hospital. There is no word on his condition.

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