Metro

Get rid of bail, let judges jail dangerous defendants: NY police chiefs

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Police officials and victims’ families called on lawmakers Thursday to stem violent crime by letting judges lock up dangerous defendants — with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea saying those who don’t agree that bail reform needs to be fixed “are part of the problem.”

Shea — an outspoken critic of the 2019 bail reform law that then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed to prevent judges from setting bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies — called the issue of surging lawlessness “a crisis that is staring each and every one of us in the face.”

During a news conference in front of the state Capitol in Albany, Shea said New Yorkers were fed up with “random, senseless attacks” by gang members who’ve been busted with illegal guns but been put right back on the streets under recent bail reform laws.

“If you are silent on this issue, you can be silent no longer,” he said.

“If you are silent on this issue, as of today, you are part of the problem.”

In exchange for empowering the judiciary, a proposal by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police would completely eliminate cash bail for all offenses.

“What we’re asking for is the removal of cash bail and in return for that we’re asking that the legislature give judges the discretion to remand people to jail based on their discretion, and we’re asking that they be allowed to consider dangerousness,” said Patrick Phelan, the association’s executive director.

Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul did not commit to changing the bail reform law.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

“We’re asking that the judges that are elected by the people of New York be allowed to consider the defendants’ danger to the community, as they’re allowed to do in 49 other states.”

Under current state law, New York judges are only allowed to set bail or lock up defendants based on their likelihood to return to court to face prosecution.

Bronx mom Eve Hendricks — whose son Brandon, 17, was fatally shot last year — directly called out Gov. Kathy Hochul and state legislators during her remarks.

“You may not be the one to pull the trigger,” she said.

“But allowing the bail reform not to be changed is allowing murderers to walk the streets and possibly killing our children or families over and over and over and over and over and over again.”

Eve Hendricks who lost her seventeen year old son Brandon to gunfire speaks with The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police holding a news conference introducing proposed legislation to amend bail reform laws at the state Capitol Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
Eve Hendricks — who lost her son to gun violence — called out Gov. Kathy Hochul and state legislators.
Hans Pennink

During an unrelated Manhattan news conference, Hochul was noncommittal when The Post asked about her stance on the police chiefs’ proposal.

“Public safety is a huge priority of mine,” she said.

“Everyone knows that and I’m looking forward to working with [mayor-elect] Eric Adams and our members of the legislature to come up with the right solutions to protect public safety.”

She added: “So, we are looking at everything and that’s where I’ll leave it right now.”

Spokespersons for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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