Colorado Department of Corrections Director Murdered

UPDATE #2: ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley:

"The ACLU of Colorado is profoundly saddened to learn of the death of Tom Clements, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. We send our deepest sympathies to Mr. Clements’ family.

"During his short two-year tenure, Mr. Clements took significant strides to protect the civil rights and human dignity of prisoners. Not only did he close Colorado State Penitentiary II – a supermax facility designed to deny prisoners human contact – but he dramatically reduced the population of prisoners held in solitary conditions. In the last several months, he worked cooperatively with the ACLU of Colorado to reduce the significant numbers of seriously mentally ill prisoners held in long-term solitary confinement.

"Mr. Clements was an intelligent, kind and humane leader who was open and receptive to the ACLU’s work. He will be deeply missed."


UPDATE: From Scott Wasserman, Executive Director of the Colorado WINS public employees union:

Tom Clements was a leader who looked out for those he led. As we worked on any number of issues facing the Corrections workforce, we always knew we had a reasonable and enlightened man at the other end of the table who wanted to reach a fair solution . He was a friend of this union and we are shocked by this tragedy.


Horrible news this morning, reports the AP:

Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff at public buildings statewide in memory of Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections who was shot and killed.

The governor said Wednesday flags will be lowered from sunrise to sunset until the day after Clements' funeral. Arrangements are pending.

FOX 31 has more information, the killer remains at large:

Police say there was a knock on Clements door around 8:30 p.m., and that when Clements answered it, he was shot and killed.

Police have not given any description of a suspect, but multiple reports out of Colorado Springs indicate that the individual responsible for Clements’ death is still at large.

From Gov. John Hickenlooper's letter to Department of Corrections employees:

As your Executive Director, he helped change and improve DOC in two years more than most people could do in eight years. He was unfailingly kind and thoughtful, and sought the "good" in any situation. As you all know, in corrections that is not easy.

We have no more details than that. I am so sad. I have never worked with a better person than Tom, and I can't imagine our team without him.

This is the highest-level Colorado government official ever murdered in office that we are aware of–please check this for us, astute readers. Needless to say, high-level corrections officials are in a position where something like this could happen with any number of motives. We join everyone else in Colorado in the hope Mr. Clements' killer is swiftly brought to justice.

42 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    Horrible news.  Thoughts with his family,  friends, and colleagues. 


    • La Libertad says:

      Do you think the killer was some neocon gun toting white male Christian? You know, a mouth breathing republicon. You're all privately hoping it's some Dudley Brown follower aren't you? 

      This is the 2nd time I recall a state corrections director being whacked. The other time was Oregon, I also recall he was an out of state hire too. He was knifed in the parking lot of his office, I don't think they ever found his killer.

      Horrible deal, too bad he didn't have some personal protection, must not have thought he was at risk.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        What made you such a twisted human being?  I'm sorry for you. 

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        Fuck you, Libertad. That is all you are worth today.

        My condolences to the family. What a terrible tragedy.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        You're a class act, Lib, and you do your peers proud.

        Condolences to Mr. Clements' family. I hope his killer is found.

      • roccoprahn says:

        What's wiith all the toughguy talk, putad?


        Too many video games late last night?

        Try manning up, join the military.

        By the way, the person you're mocking has a family, they're left to mourn him and try to make sense of all this. You truly are what society attempts not to be.

        Where's that apology on your slander of Senator Menendez, you maggot?

        • La Libertad says:

          Re Menendez. Hey I just highlighted to media story on his overseas teen hooker activities. The real story has always been his backdated $60k plane gift and his failure to pay taxes.

          i would note there was a new story about Mensndez repeated use of an interstate hooker. They have her on tape and she's an adult American apparently.


      • Craig says:

        You are such an asshole.  As a neighbor of the former warden at Super Max, I can tell you that they are very, very security conscious.

        Condolences to the family and friends.

  2. Albert J. Nock says:

    My comment is not directly realated to this man and his family, RIP.


    I sometimes wonder if the average person of lets us say IQ range 95-100, takes their moral queue from Washington DC. Meaning crime rates are a barometer of DC morals, Liberty and Justice or lack thereof…




  3. DavidThi808 says:

    This is very sad news. My condolences to his family and friends.

  4. learnedhand says:

    Hard to think of anyone more widely respected across the various stakeholders and constituencies as Director Clements. Affable, smart, fair. A true public servant. 

  5. The realist says:

    Horrible, tragic. Have we ever had a state Cabinet member murdered in Colorado? Hope it's solved quickly.

  6. BlueCat says:

    I've never asked for anyone to be banned before and have even defended 'tad when others have callled for a ban.  This is just too much.

    I would like to formally request that La Libertad be banned from this site.  'Tad contributes nothing of value and this latest utterly vile response to a  terrible tragedy is way, way, way over the line of decency.

    Blogs can have rules about participation so I don't see this as a free speech issue.   A lack of common decency this profound and offensive ought to qualify for a ban. 

    Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Scott Wasserman, simply, completely  and with no qualifactions or hopes about the identity of the murderer other than that he or she be found, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and punished.

    If La Libertad is not banned, and I would understand opposition to my position on the grounds of a different view of the proper roll of free speech on this blog, I suggest complete and absolute shunning.  No more responses ever. That will certainly be my choice.

    After reading that comment I feel like taking a very, long hot shower with a strong disinfectant in place of the usual soap.

    • Craig says:

      Seconded.  But he'll no doubt come back with some other user name and continue to make these kinds of idiotic responses.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      While I disagree with Libertad's treatment of this tragedy, were commenters who tried to politicize the Aurora shooting banned?

    • Urban Snowshoer says:

      You don't have ban anyone, ColoradoPols just needs bring back the penalty box, like it had on the old site.

    • Aristotle says:

      Also seconded. I'm pissed bout Pols' double standard regarding this polster, and I think I'm going to write a diary about it. That seems to be the only way to get any answers from them.

      But not tonight. Soon, though.

      @Elliot, Libertad has been around a long time, and has a long history of needlessly terrible and offensive things to say. Pols used to have something called the "penalty box," which was a short term ban, and after Libertad (now known as "La Libertad") earned no less than three trips, Pols did say that the next transgression would be his last. They must live up to that, or I'm going to ditch this site in protest.

  7. Gray in Mountains says:

    Pols never answered my questions about the timeout that we used to have. If 'tad is not banned he ought spend a month or so in timeout

  8. Gray in Mountains says:

    REst in Peace Mr. Clements. All of CO needs to provide whatever support we can to his family and to his coworkers. I have confidence that the perpetrator of this horrifying act of violence will be caught and we'll get to the bottom of this and appropriate punishment meted out

  9. morgancarroll says:

    Director Tom Clements helped bring seriously overdue reforms in CO prisons on solitary confinement and was an advocate for getting inmates the rehab and classes shown to make us all safer.  His wife, Dr. Lisa Clements is a behavioral health expert who has helped give  CO some of its best improvements this year for what we will be doing for improving mental health in CO.  Both are extremely smart people who see and treat people as human beings.  Kind people committed to doing good things for CO and already making a difference here.  This is so sad beyond words.  My deepest sympathies for his family and CO lost an amazing public servant.

  10. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    Tom Clements was a man of both great decency and great courage.  He believed in the fundamental humanity of all people, even those who had made horrible choices and went to DOC.  He genuinely cared about people that so many others had given up on.

    I can't imagine how his family feels, I barely knew the man and I am struggling.

  11. Duke Cox says:

    Hard to describe how sad I feel just now. So sorry for his family and friends…I cannot grasp the pain with which his wife and family are now dealing. I, too, sincerely hope his killer is swiftly brought to justice.

    I pledge to never again respond to that piece of shit who calls himself Libertad…ever.

  12. notaskinnycook says:

    To begin with, my sympathies to his family and co-workers  My brother teaches at one of the women's facilities down south so this is a tad close to home.I read about this here this morning before I even read my email or checked the Post's website for late breaking news. I wanted to know more before I spoke and accidentally put my back paw in my mouth (like some people). Mr. Clements sound like a wonderful man. I'm baffled. From what I've read today, he sounds like a very nice guy who was in the prisoners' (and accused's) corner.He will be missed, probably a lot by the inmates.



  13. Gray in Mountains says:

    It is still far too soon, not enough known, for resonable people to speculate about what led this murderous person to seek to destroy a family

  14. DanleySteel says:

    Talking Points Memo has the story that the same gun was used in a shoot out with police authorities in Texas two days after the killing. Even Ebel was killed in that shooting, and may be the man who shot Mr. Clements.

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