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Boston’s top cop slammed liberal judges for allowing supposed non-violent offenders to be released from prisons due to fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross targeted the judges in comments he made following a night of violence in the city, telling them bluntly to take the released prisoners into their own homes if they are so concerned for their health and safety.
“Violent offenders should not be released back to the neighborhoods,” Gross said at a news conference Thursday at City Hall. “You’re taking people from a controlled environment that have not been fully rehabilitated. That’s what you pay taxes for – full rehabilitation.”
“Not one judge has ever provided a certificate that said any COVID-19 releases are fully rehabilitated,” Gross said, pointing out that the releases are actually “unfair” to the prisoners as they were being freed into an environment which they are unprepared for and could potentially create more risk of becoming infected.
“Many of them are going back into neighborhoods that test highest for COVID-19 positives,” he noted. “they’re coming back without a reentry program – no meals, no housing, no money, no mental or physical health care.”
“You tell me, where does that make sense in anybody’s book?” Gross asked.
His remarks came after a night that saw multiple injuries in the city due to violent incidents, including a mass shooting involving five men which left one of the victims dead. In addition, area hospitals took in a victim with a gunshot wound and another with a stab wound.
“So the mentality on the street is you can do whatever you want,” the police commissioner said, going on to cite the example of accused murderer William James Utley who was awaiting trial for second-degree murder after being indicted by a grand jury.
The 40-year-old offender was released with a GPS monitor by a judge who was concerned that Utley’s leukemia made him more susceptible to the coronavirus.
“We need to be talking about the individuals that are being released to the community, that are impacting our neighborhoods…because the mentality on the street is that you can do whatever you want because there are no repercussions from the court,” Gross continued, saying his argument came from his perspective as “a 35-year street cop.”
“Your job as a judge is to be fair and impartial and make the best decisions for the neighborhood,” he added, questioning the logic of freeing repeat violent offenders.
“If you feel so comfortable releasing them, let them stay at your house with your family,” Gross said to the judges. “Now see if things would change, come on! We’re in the middle of a pandemic!”
“Look at the numbers. Five homicides in a row, the attempted murder of four police officers in broad daylight, a 10-year-old girl shot in her apartment, a 17-year-old girl murdered on the street,” he said. “Use your common sense and be fair to people in the community. The people are not rehabilitated.”
Gross had also vented his frustration on his Facebook account the previous day.
“On the way to Franklin Field for 8 people shot. Thank you Liberal Judges, for your release of a murderer and several violent persons, YOU have set the tone that people can do whatever they want because there will be no repercussions from the courts,” he wrote, according to the Dorchester Reporter.
“Over 45 guns off of the streets from search warrants within a month’s time… 24 directly from a person. Out of the 24, 16 were verified gang members. Several have been bailed the next day or within weeks,” Gross added. “It’s the judges, not the D.A. Stand up for your rights people!”
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