In response to New York City seeing its third police officer shot early Thursday, three weeks into the new year, Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, demanded New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers in Albany make immediate changes to the legislation. The Detectives Endowment Association is a major police union in the city.
“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 detective shot in a leg was undergoing surgery.
“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.”
New York’s bail reform law, which went into effect at the start of 2020 under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was intended to drive down jail populations by reducing the number of people held while awaiting trial because they could not afford to post bail.
Republicans, including newly sworn-in Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, have been lobbying for the repeal of cashless bail, arguing the bail reform law contributed to an uptick in crime in the region, extending into neighboring Long Island just outside the Big Apple.
“I believe that the law should be repealed,” Blakeman told Fox News Digital Thursday.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.”
Despite the NYPD executing more than 8,500 gun arrests over the past two years, DiGiacomo said members of the department still walk past hundreds of guns a day on the streets of New York City.
“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.”
A week ago, Nassau County’s police department, where newly appointed NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell previously served as chief of detectives, took more than 100 illegal guns off streets in Long Island. About a third of those were captured from people who were out on cashless bail.
Blakeman, a Republican who defeated incumbent Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, issued a new executive order this week requiring the police department in all of its press releases identifying suspects to also indicate whether that person was rearrested as a result of the state’s bail reform law.
“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 Fox News Digital. “Quite frankly, almost every law enforcement professional concurs that it has been a cause of an uptick in crime throughout the state.”
The move seeks to drive more statistics on the effects of the bail reform law. To the argument that not all crime is going up since bail reform went into effect, Blakeman countered that larceny might not have increased in some areas because of closures during the pandemic. He said he’s also hearing from detectives and store owners that because of cashless bail, there’s hesitancy to report theft because the same suspects could soon be back on the street and return to steal again or threaten shopkeepers.
“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.”
“And I think there will be political consequences,” he said, referring to the 2022 governor’s race. “We saw it in Nassau County this past November. I think you’re going to see it statewide and nationwide.”
East of the Big Apple, Long Island’s district attorneys in both Nassau and Suffolk counties also both recently flipped from blue to red in November, and GOP candidates picked up more seats in the Suffolk County legislature and New York City Council. Democrat Eric Adams, a former NYPD sergeant, became New York City’s second Black mayor at the start of this year, and his predecessor, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, just announced this week he was bowing out of the 2022 New York gubernatorial race.
Hochul is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination for governor. Her office did not return a request for comment.