A Profile in Priorities: Kenny Harrigan
In 1988, Mr. Harrigan was homeless and had a drug abuse issue. He was attempting to protect his belongings (including ID, birth certificate, etc.) from the rain and from falling into others' hands, so he went to put his things in a tool shed that was in the yard of a house. He never made it inside, was at the window, when someone called the police. The police came and arrested him, he plead guilty to 2nd degree burglary and served 6 months with 5 years probation.
In 1989, he had a second conviction for attempted burglary. He was walking past the home of a police officer. The officer had been told by someone that Mr. Harrigan had tried to break into his home a week before. Upon seeing Mr. Harrigan, the officer who was dressed in plain clothes, ran after him with a gun. Mr. Harrigan ran, and was tackled by two civilians. He was charged with attempted burglary and sentenced to 2 1/2 - 5 years. The officer had attempted to claim that Mr. Harrigan had assaulted him, but the judge denied that claim because the medical team was unable to find any evidence of assault as the officer was claiming.
In 1992, Mr. Harrigan was charged with 12 years to life for stealing a power extension chord and a battery charger from a garage. He was charged with burglary in the 1st degree which is considered a violent felony under NY law. He served the entire 12 years. He is now a counselor at the Fortune Society helping others who face similar challenges as he did.