Venice man sent to prison on firearm charge

News-DemocratNovember 21, 2013 

A 32-year-old Venice man on Thursday received a prison sentence that was above the recommended guidelines for illegally possessing a firearm and the U.S attorney said he hopes this sentence sends a message "Stop the violence or pay the price."

In sentencing Jeremy Crawford, of Venice, to 96 months rather than the recommended range of between 57-71 months, U.S District Judge Michael J. Reagan said he was both a danger to society and to law enforcement. Reagan said Crawford's criminal actions "have contributed to the atmosphere of fear experienced in this district."

"And you are a danger to law enforcement. Therefore you are a danger to every citizen. Law enforcement is a safety net between the citizens and criminal chaos," Reagan said.

There is no parole in the federal system. In addition to the prison time he must do, Crawford must also pay a $750 fine and he will be on a three years supervised release when he finishes his prison sentence.

According to court documents, Crawford was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado on Sept. 19, 2012, and was not wearing his seat belt. Venice police officers got behind Crawford's car and attempted to stop him, but he refused to pull the car over and when he did, he tried to drive off again.

A third Venice police officer responded to the scene and blocked Crawford's car in to prevent him from leaving. An officer opened the door to Crawford's car and told him to get on the ground and he refused, court documents said. After his refusal to comply, Crawford was forced onto the ground where he was handcuffed by police and taken to a police car.

While the officers were checking his car to see whether other passengers were inside, they noticed a silver 9mm pistol under his driver's seat. The officer noticed that the gun was loaded.

The court documents said that Crawford, while waiting in the police car, rolled down the window and climbed out of it and attempted to flee. The officers noticed Crawford was trying to run and they rushed over to get him.

Crawford started kicking the officers, but they successfully got him back to the patrol car. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said "My office remains committed to prosecuting the district's most violent criminals, especially those who illegally arm themselves with firearms and then use them. As the court recognized, Jeremy Crawford is an exceptionally dangerous and violent man. He's a danger not just to the community, but to law enforcement. a sentence like this sends a strong clear message -- stop the violence or pay the price."

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