Man who shot, killed Milwaukee police officer no stranger to the law

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Jonathan Copeland

MILWAUKEE -- The man accused of killing Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Michalski did not get out of prison early after all. Jonathan Copeland Jr.'s back-to-back felony convictions in 2006 and 2008, led to a complicated prison sentence.

When Copeland was 18 years old, he was convicted of armed robbery after a masked home invasion at a now-abandoned home on North 51st Street. He served a little more than a year in prison.

Within months of his release, the man known by the nickname "Little Smoke," was up to no good again.

In November of 2008, he was accused of more gun crimes and ran from police after a dramatic head first dive out of a third story window.

In May of 2009, Copeland was sentenced to serve two, five-year prison terms. However, the judge opted to run those sentences concurrently -- meaning, at the same time. In other words, five years plus fives years still equals five years, not ten.

After tacking on three more years for violating his parole, Copeland spent a total of eight years in prison before his release near the end of 2016. By then, he'd been flagged a habitual criminal -- or, as Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales calls him, one of the city's most dangers "10 percent."

"Copeland was one of those 10 percenters. People that are a threat to the City of Milwaukee," Morales said.

Alfonso Morales

Even after his release in 2016, Copeland continued to get in trouble with the law; he was jailed for three days in October in 2017, and five days in January of 2018.

Yet, Copeland was still a free man in May when he led police on a brief car chase and got away on foot -- setting the state for Wednesday's deadly shooting of a Milwaukee police officer.

Michael Michalski

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