By Philip Yee
Recently, legislation was passed to make it easier for you to stay out of jail while waiting for trial if you could not make bail. Here, a retired sergeant of 33 years of service with the NYPD speaks about the intended results.
Bail reform is not working, as several high-profile assaults by released individuals have occurred in the neighborhood. I understand what the law was meant to accomplish—young and financially disadvantaged people would not have to sit in jail until trial or adjudication of their cases. However, serial assaulters with mental health issues have been released and have shortened the timeline between their assaults.
On January 8th, 2020, Eugene Webb, a man in his 20s, punched, and later kicked, a woman in the back of her head at Varick and Houston Streets. The woman had two teeth knocked out. Later that day Webb attacked another woman near Grand Central Station. Two days later Webb was arrested for aggressive panhandling. He was released on each charge as per bail reform. I urged our state representative’s office to examine these offenses. One aide tried to lecture me on how misinformed of the particulars of the law I was, and assured me that violent felons do not qualify for automatic release under bail reform. The teeth being knocked out is a misdemeanor.
There are negotiations taking place regarding reworking bail reform law in Albany. The mayor acknowledges that bail reform has led to an increase in crime. The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. stated that his office is overwhelmed with cases.
The bail reform law needs to be adjusted; recidivist misdemeanor assault defendants should not be released automatically, for starters. The impact on the criminal justice system should be considered.
The state officials that we perfunctorily vote for seem to want to expose their constituents to more opportunities to be victimized by crimes. I don’t want to go back to the ‘80s and ‘90s crime-wise. I’m in my late 50s and can’t recover from a punch as well as I was able to in my 20s or 30s. Serial assaulters usually victimize people who don’t fight back—woman, the elderly, and immigrants.