Tyrone Howard, suspected in the fatal shooting of New York City Police Officer Randolf Holder, was formally arraigned late Wednesday and charged with murder as well as robbery.

ABC News has settled on reporting that Howard had been “previously arrested multiple times,” with other sources citing anywhere from 15 to 28 prior arrests. Most reports have settled on 18.

One reason why is that Howard, who was busted in May for selling crack, avoided two years behind bars and was instead put through an outpatient drug-rehabilitation program. This “diversion” program is intended to reduce overcrowding in the city’s prisons. “But Howard stopped taking part in the program in May,” reports ABC7.

The New York Times reports that “Howard — a repeat drug offender who also used drugs with no admissible history of violence — was exactly the sort that diversion by a judge was designed to address.” According to the Washington Times, David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state court system, told the Associated Press that “actually, he’s the perfect candidate in many ways” for diversion programs.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton disagreed, calling Howard “a poster boy for not being diverted,” adding, “If ever there was a candidate to not have been diverted, it would be this guy.”

That’s right. Remember President Obama’s wish list as delivered to the NAACP? If he could just eliminate incarcerations, the money saved could pay for universal pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old in America, double the salary of every high school teacher, and eliminate tuition at every public college and university. He also said he would restore Pell grants to federal and state prisoners.

… none of which helps Officer Holder or his family now.