Mayor Eric Adams ran into a buzzsaw Wednesday as he implored the Legislature for modest fixes to the state’s disastrous criminal-justice reforms — except the saw broke on the diamond-hard case of his reply. How long can Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins keep ignoring the clear facts?
Adams’ faceoff was with Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-B’klyn), who arrogantly (and wrongly) accused him of “adopting the rhetoric” of anti-black racists and challenged him to debate the impact of bail reform on crime rates.
He told her to take her debate to the bereaved families of crime victims, including a slain 11-month-old and the two NYPD detectives so recently mourned at St. Patrick’s. Then he hit her with some facts.
The number of perps with gun charges released on bail nearly tripled from 41 in 2019 to 117 in 2021, he noted. Those out on a homicide-related gun charge more than doubled from 15 in 2019 to 40 in 2021. From 2018 to 2020, the number arrested and re-arrested for a violent felony within a year almost doubled from 6.5% to 12%.
We’d add that, in the first two months under the Legislature’s 2020 bail reform fixes, two-thirds of felony defendants had priors at time of arrest. And court data show that 31% of that group were re-arrested before their case was disposed; of those with prior pending violent offenses, 58% were nabbed again before their case was over.
The evidence is clear: The no-bail law frees far too many felony offenders to re-offend — with more than half of violent offenders committing a new crime after being sprung.
Walker & Co. flat-out oppose Adams’ call to let judges jail suspects they deem clearly dangerous and to allow some juveniles involved in gun crime to be sent to criminal, not family, court. As Adams noted at Wednesday’s hearing, half of the 2,500 16-year-olds who’ve been sent to Family Court since 2019 under the Raise the Age law were re-arrested, 10% on a firearms charge.
Oh, and Bronx DA Darcel Clark also sees how Raise the Age needs fixing: “We are seeing 16- and 17-year-olds — and some even younger — with multiple gun cases that are not being held accountable when sent to Family Court. They are arrested for gun possession and released without supervision; they graduate to a fatal shooting or they are killed by another youth with a gun.”
Worse: Per NYPD data, 10% of all gun arrests in 2021 involved under-18s, compared with just 1% in 2015. The “reform” has gangs recruiting teens to become gunmen.
Some lawmakers are listening: State Sen. Diane Savino (D-B’klyn-SI) and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-SI) have introduced a measure to fix Raise the Age.
But it, like no-bail reform, will go nowhere unless Heastie and Stewart-Cousins quit stonewalling, looking only at the (so-called) data and anecdotes on the other side.
No one’s asking for total repeal of the reforms, only sensible changes to address their serious unintended consequences — consequences that hit black and Hispanic neighborhoods especially hard.
Why are progressive lawmakers like Walker, Heastie and Stewart-Cousins against saving the lives and property of minority New Yorkers?