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New York law enforcement officials and Republican lawmakers are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to end cashless bail in the state amid rising crime.
In the wake of New York City having seen its third shooting of a police officer in as many weeks, Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, demanded that Hochul and state lawmakers in Albany repeal bail reform which he argues has driven up crime for the last two years in the Empire State.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the start of bail reform till now, there’s a direct correlation to shootings, drug dealing and violent crime in this city,” DiGiacomo said at a press conference at a Staten Island hospital, where the most recent wounded police officer was undergoing surgery after being shot in the leg.
“It’s clearly not working,” DiGiacomo said. “We’ve told the Senate, we’ve told the Assembly to fix the laws on numerous occasions, reaching out to the governor to fix the laws because people are dying at an alarming rate. Children are dying at an alarming rate. And this is not fair to the communities in which we serve.”
Watch as @NYPDPC joins First Deputy Mayor Grillo and NYPD executives to provide details of the NYPD officer shot on Staten Island. https://t.co/LUddAzQoHG
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 20, 2022
Former and now-disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed bail reform into law in 2020 with the intention to reduce jail populations by releasing back to the streets those who could not afford bail. One could argue that another option would have been to simply build more jails, as the unintended but easily predictable consequences of such legislation have resulted in more crime and recidivism in the state.
Republicans, including newly sworn-in Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, have been lobbying for the repeal of cashless bail.
“I believe that the law should be repealed,” Blakeman told Fox News Digital Thursday. “I would say criminals have more rights than victims in the state of New York. It has created a much more dangerous environment in Nassau County, but not just Nassau County, the whole region.”
“I believe the determination whether a defendant is a flight risk or a danger to society should be made by a judge on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “It’s been that way for over 200 years. I don’t know why we’re changing it now. It worked well. I believe it is a violation of the separation of powers for the legislature to take that power away from the judiciary, and I would like to see it back in the hands of the judiciary.”
Blakeman, a Republican who defeated incumbent Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, has signed an executive order requiring all police departments in the county to identify to the press any and all suspects who were rearrested after having been released due to bail reform.
“We want to keep track of everybody who was released because of cashless bail and rearrested because we want to make sure that the public knows what the cashless bail law has done to public safety in the state,” Blakeman told the outlet. “Quite frankly, almost every law enforcement professional concurs that it has been a cause of an uptick in crime throughout the state.”
Blakeman also said that he hears from detectives and business owners that many are hesitant to report a crime for fear that the same suspect will target them when they are inevitably released.
“I think the overwhelming majority of people that I talk to want to see the law repealed,” Blakeman said. “If you’re an elected official or you’re a candidate and you’re not doing what the people want you to do, you’re not being true to your oath of office. And there are political consequences.”
Despite the NYPD executing more than 8,500 gun arrests over the past two years, DiGiacomo related that members of the department still see hundreds of guns on New York streets every single day.
“Because there are so many guns on the street, and the policies that are in place with bail reform are not working, the people of this city are unsafe,” DiGiacomo said. “I’m calling on the governor, the Senate leader and the assembly leader to fix the laws that they broke to keep the people of this city safe.”
“We have two police officers that were shot and one detective in the last 20 days. We have an 11-month-old child shot by a stray bullet and multiple shootings throughout the whole city of New York. What else does it take to change the laws that you broke?” the union leader said, referring to recent violence. “They need to be fixed. And a message to our criminal element out there, if you’re carrying a gun and you use that gun against the New York City police officer or a detective, we will find you.”
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