In the latest no-bail outrage, Bronx Judge Eugene Bowen released two thugs caught on video beating cops who’d asked them to put out their cigarettes at the Freeman Street subway station.
To be clear: The charges were bail-eligible, even under New York’s “reformed,” perp-friendly laws.
Just days earlier, another Bronx judge set $40,000 cash bail or $120,000 bond for two men who’d battered and bloodied NYPD Lt. Gypsy Pichardo at another Bronx subway stop, so those perps are cooling their heels at Rikers.
But the prosecutors must’ve known Bowen wouldn’t be so sensible: They only asked him to impose $10,000 bail or $30,000 bond in this case, though the video holds ample evidence of savagery and so provides solid reason to fear the accused won’t show up for trial unless remanded.
(Not to mention an obvious public-safety threat — but New York law tells judges not to consider that when setting bail.)
Bowen’s decision to spring the accused would be an outrage even if the victims weren’t police officers; that they were makes it outright obscene. The judge is emboldening other thugs to attack cops.
As Police Benevolent Association head Patrick Hendry warns, “Our streets and subways won’t be safe if the cops protecting them aren’t safe.”
More, the signal that the courts won’t have officers’ backs can only make cops more reluctant to take any risks in enforcing the law.
And further sink police morale, which already has the NYPD headcount down to a decade-long low of 33,500 as nearly 3,000 uniformed cops have been lost to retirement and resignation since 2019.
Don’t even try to blame COVID for the surge in officer exits.
2019 is when the Legislature (and City Council) really started siding with criminals against prosecutors, judges and cops: making it near-impossible to try even a hardened juvenile offender in Criminal Court, denying judges the discretion to set any bail for most crimes, putting police at personal lawsuit risk if an arrest goes wrong, burying DAs in new paperwork demands and so much more.
And the same “reform” mindset has progressive DAs like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg, and judges like Eugene Bowen, cutting even more slack for most perps.
The Legislature and City Council ought to be fixing their botched reforms, as we’ve said for years.
And the county political machines that effectively choose the city’s judges should be looking to ease the likes of Bowen out the door.
(The voters will have to evict DAs like Bragg, unless New York can get a governor who’s willing to remove prosecutors who brag about not doing their job, as Alvin has.)
Sadly, New York’s leaders are still pushing in the wrong direction: Gov. Hochul’s about to sign another overbroad “criminal-justice reform,” the Clean Slate Act, that will further put the public at risk.
And Mayor Adams is looking to nix the next Police Academy class to help balance the city budget.
And they’re far from the worst: Again, the Legislature and City Council are still lurching left.
It’s an open question whether enough voters will revolt to demand a change in course — or too many with good sense will just move away, and let the progressives keep on destroying this city and state.