L.A. Police Union Alarmed By Attempted Rape Suspect Who Got Early Release

The union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers issued an I-told-ya-so this week as a state inmate who received an early release, apparently under the governor's budget-enhancing parole reform plan, was almost immediately arrested on suspicion of trying to rape his female counselor.

Kevin Eugene Peterson, 22, had been released in Sacramento Monday -- two months into a four-month sentence for a probation violation -- and was arrested 13 hours later on suspicion of assault to commit rape, sodomy and oral copulation, sexual battery, false imprisonment and again violating probation.

"Neighborhoods and communities throughout California are less safe today because of this irresponsible early release program," states the Los Angeles Police Protective League's board of directors. "As if that weren't bad enough, the highest percentage of the released inmates (almost 6,000) are coming to Los Angeles County ... We cannot imagine a worse time for our local officials to float the idea of police layoffs as a means of solving the city budget crisis."

The union has been warning about what it argued would be dire consequences if thousands of inmates hit the streets. The LAPPL has stated that even though only nonviolent offenders are to be eligible for the program, many of those criminals had been arrested on suspicion of violent crimes but then had charges reduced under plea agreements.

Sacramento police allege that Peterson held a female counselor he was meeting with against her will and tried to rape her. The suspect denies the charges. And, speaking of denial, state officials continue to deny that its parole reform plan constitutes a release of thousands of prisoners.

"The state is not releasing anybody," California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Gordon Hinkle told the Associated Press. "In fact, the law is too new for anybody to have earned enough credit enhancements ... to be taking off their sentence time."

However, Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness told the wire, "It's true. Sacramento police arrested someone who was released from custody 16 days early in compliance with the change in the law."

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