An ex-drug dealer whose sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama (D) is now accused of being involved in an Illinois shooting.
Law enforcement said 54-year-old Alton Mills, who the New York Post noted was granted clemency several years ago, is now facing three attempted murder charges, the outlet reported Friday.
The public is reminded that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
— IllinoisStatePolice (@ILStatePolice) May 17, 2023
The incident happened Sunday when the suspect was inside a car and allegedly fired at another vehicle while driving on an Interstate 57 ramp in the Chicago village of Posen.
Officials said that, during the shooting, a passenger in the victim’s car was hit by gunfire. That individual suffered life-threatening injuries.
Obama commuted Mills’ life sentence in 2016 after the man spent over 20 years behind bars. The Post said, “He was convicted in 1994 on federal charges as part of a crack cocaine conspiracy.”
The outlet continued:
The then-25-year-old Mills had two previous convictions of possession of fewer than five grams of crack cocaine, prompting prosecutors to file a sentence enhancement to lock him in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a previous news release from the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University.
Obama chose Mills as one of 95 non-violent federal inmates “who were sentenced at the height of the war on drugs and would likely receive substantially lower sentences today” to have their sentences commuted as part of a clemency initiative.
In August 2016, Breitbart News reported Obama was cutting short sentences given to over 200 convicted felons by exercising his constitutional clemency power.
“The White House boasted that this was the largest mass commutation since 1900,” the article stated, adding, “That brings the total number of Obama’s grants of clemency to 562, which is more than the all the presidents since Dwight Eisenhower (nine presidents) combined.”
Before his release, Mills’ case was highlighted by several politicians, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Post said, noting he advocated for a prison reform bill.
Cook County man charged with attempted murder in expressway shooting: https://bit.ly/3Om5Xr2
Video footage from 2018 shows Durbin talking about Mills during a speech on the Senate floor:
“He was an above-average high school student. It looked like he might even go on to higher education. But he had some bad luck when it came to employment, jobs, and he made a stupid decision,” Durbin said, saying he became part of a “gang in the neighborhood that was selling drugs.”
In April 2016, Durbin shared an interview with Mills and said, “An overlooked casualty in America’s ‘war on drugs’ are the men and women who have received disproportionately harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses.”
The suspect is currently being held without bond inside the Cook County Jail, according to Fox 32.