Top NYPD officials blamed bail reform, Rikers compassionate release and shut down of the court system for releasing violent felons onto the streets, causing a wave of violent crimes including shootings, murder and other serious assaults.
The crisis hit a crescendo this past Fourth of July weekend as there were 96 shootings, 11 murders and 64 people wounded citywide. Most jarring was that all those killed over the weekend and in the entire month of June were people of color, officials said.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan has been vocal over releasing criminals from jail and for the first time, the department’s Chief Michael LiPetri revealed startling numbers showing recidivism among some releasees in all seven of the major felony categories which include murder, assault with a weapon, armed robbery, burglary and car theft.
For the month of June, there were 39 homicides compared to 30 last year — a 30% increase. But most startling was a 130.3% increase in shootings for June, up from 89 last year to 205 this year.
Of those murders, 50% were centered in 10 precincts, mostly in north Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem.
Both Monahan and LiPetri focused on recidivist criminals committing crimes, some of whom were responsible for murders this past weekend.
Other crimes on the rise were burglaries of ‘mom and pop’ stores rising 118%, with 1,783 for this year compared with 817 the year before. Car theft also jumped this year by 50%, with 696 vehicles stolen compared with 462 last year – many taken just this past weekend in a car theft spree that spanned all boroughs.
Some of those thefts resulted in crashes with pedestrians and parked vehicles, one such crash in Flatlands, Brooklyn, one of five vehicles taken fro a single parking lot ending up on its side after hitting a row of cars.
Most jarring of the figures was that of those murdered in June and July, “all of them were people of color,” LiPetri said.
LiPetri read off a litany of statistics on bail reform releases and those set free from Rikers Island, arguing that the current system “has emboldened criminals to commit more and more serious crimes.”
He said 3,000 people who released under bail reform and from Rikers committed “9,000 serious crimes in New York City.”
“Since the pandemic, nobody has been going to Rikers. People are just being released into the community and the courts are also not functioning, so we have people arrested for guns who are being let free to commit more crimes,” LiPetri said.
LiPetri read off anecdotal evidence in which bail reform releasees committing more crimes.
Chief Monahan took issue with some City Council members calling the violence statistics “propaganda.”
“You can’t call it that in Harlem, Brownsville, the Bronx with murders in the 44 Precinct – that’s violence, and that’s not numbers, those are victims,” Monahan said.
LiPetri provided three specific instances of anecdotal evidence:
On May 25, a man was arrested for criminal sale control substance – no bail any more – “you must be major trafficker, to get bail for narcotics offenses.” On June 6, that person stabbed another person to death.
A parolee, was arrested for two counts of domestic violence on March 29, arrested again for domestic violence April 24 for which he was again released under bail reform. In June, he shoots and kills another man for a gang related murder.
A man arrested and convicted of a violent offense was given a COVID-19 compassionate release, only four days later in March, he kills an acquaintance.
Of 275 people out of the 2,500 released early from Rikers, the NYPD reported that the sample number of former inmates have been arrested 550 times, and re-arrested – many of those are then released yet again.
“Those being released, 75% are convicted felons – gang members violent criminal and sexual predators that committed crimes against children. We asked that about 96% of these people not be released, but they wouldn’t listen to us,” LiPetri said.
Also disturbing, LiPetri said, was the number of gun arrests still not prosecuted.
Of the 2,000 gun arrests since 2019, LiPetri said, most suspects have been released from custody, and they are now suspected of being part of many of the shootings occurring in the five boroughs. Of the 1,000 gun indictments, just 17% of those have been prosecuted or jailed.
“These people are carrying illegal gun and they need that gun to shoot someone – they should have gotten jail,” LiPetri blared. “How about 2,000 open gun indictments? There is a direct correlation to recidivism here. But you don’t hear about it. It’s now taking a year to indict and in the mean time, they are working out a plea deal, but then they go out and commit a triple shooting. There are now about 3,000 people out who are responsible for 9,000 crimes.”
Many recidivist criminals are committing lesser crimes including robberies, burglaries or local stores or stealing cars and crashing them.
“There were 3,007 major crimes, driven by robbery, burglary and GLA – but the bail law now gives them a DAT, so someone steals your $30k motor vehicle, they just walk out and jump into another car when you might need it for work,” LiPetri said.
“There are a multitude of reasons why shootings increased in New York City with street violence as the precursors. We have the knowledge to stop the shootings, but we have no power to stop them,” LiPetri sighed.
Weekend mayhem, rewards for info
The number of people shot in New York City more than tripled last week compared to the same period in 2019, police sources said Monday morning.
Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox of the Detective Bureau pulled out wanted posters and announced the arrest of a 17-year-old who killed a Bronx basketball player and newly graduated high school senior for no reason.
Wilcox announced the arrest by the 46th Precinct detectives of Najim Luke, 17 this morning for killing Hendrix who was attending a barbecue. on June 28. His murder was a very public sign of the rising death toll from city shootings.
Wilcox said Luke has a history of violent robberies in the Bronx and Manhattan.
“He was a young man with a bright future, but he was killed just for attending a barbecue,” Wilcox said. He said he could not yet discuss the motive in the case as it is still under investigation.
Wilcox also put out a wanted poster for the murder of Anthony Robertson on East 137th Street in the Bronx on Sunday evening as he walked with his 6-year-old daughter. Wilcox said the men in a black auto, pulled up on Robertson and his daughter and sprayed him with bullets as his daughter watched.
“They did this killing in front of his daughter at an intersection – it was cruel and senseless – Robertson is not the only victim, but a young girl is a victim,
The case is being investigated by the 44th Precinct, having also had two additional homicides in the same hour last night.
Wilcox also put out a wanted poster for Charles Hernandez, 47, a parolee on weapons charges, who is now sought for the murder of a young couple in front of 551 Van Siclen Avenue in East New York Brooklyn.
The two victims, Stephanie Perkins, 39, and Chioke Thompson, 23, were gunned down on June 27, in their vehicle allegedly by Hernandez attacked them with an automatic assault rifle. Wilcox said the Fugitive Enforcement team is currently hunting him – a man with a violent history who has somehow remained free.
Chief Monahan pointed out that the NYPD was being ‘defunded’ as so many are being killed and wounded.
“Take a look at what’s happening – 74 incidents, 101 people, 18 killed, imagine no cops, detectives no responding, imagine how bad it would be to abolish police. You see them at City Hall Park – the Communist hammer sickle – these are the loudest voices,” he said.