What will it take for New York politicians to connect the dots between crimes they deplore and foolish criminal-justice “reforms” they support?
On Wednesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams joined other members of the pro-criminal lobby at a Chinatown presser to denounce the latest act of anti-Asian violence — and naturally made no mention of the recent laws that allowed the latest attacker to continue his crime spree.
Alexander Wright, the homeless man charged in the sucker-punch of an Asian woman, has 17 prior unsealed arrests, has missed court twice in the last year and has an open assault case in The Bronx for allegedly punching a 72-year-old man in the face; his rap sheet lists a staggering 40 arrests.
Wright is finally being held on $15,000 cash bail for Monday’s vicious attack, but only after multiple rounds of revolving-door “justice” for the earlier charges.
Notably, one judge spared him jail time if he would attend five sessions with Manhattan Justice Opportunities, a city “diversion” program. But Wright didn’t show; he instead continued to randomly attack innocent New Yorkers.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, whose district covers Chinatown, is a staunch supporter of the mindset that put Wright back on the street. She even argues that the no-bail law is not to blame for repeat offenders. “I think people shouldn’t be just arrested if they need mental-health services,” Niou said to ABC7 News. She also told NPR that she was “heartbroken seeing how many of these incidents keep happening . . . we are humans, too.”
But an arrest was the only way to get a menace like Wright (who told prosecutors he was responsible for two attacks on May 27) off the streets. Yes, the goal should also be to get such troubled souls off the street and into treatment — but protecting the public has to come first. The no-bail law backed by Niou did nothing to put Wright into treatment, it simply let him go free.
Plus, lots of perps aren’t mentally troubled, they’re just plain mean. Throwing open jails and prisons tells bad guys that there’ll be no consequences for their assaults on society. That message has sparked the gun violence and rising disorder that now threatens to derail the city’s recovery.
Public safety should be every elected official’s Job One — not a cause they take up only when a politically incorrect crime makes the headlines.