The audience at a Manhattan anti-crime summit burst into applause Thursday when a top police official pushed back against a state lawmaker who defended New York’s controversial bail reform law and accused cops of not making enough arrests.
NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey appeared upset when Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-The Bronx) alleged that many cops “have the attitude” that bail reform would put anyone they busted right back on the streets.
“It’s really not their call to decide whether somebody should be arrested because they’re going to be let out. That’s up to others to make those determinations,” he added.
When given a chance to fire back, Maddrey pointed to statistics about repeat offenders cited earlier by the moderator of their Manhattan Chamber of Commerce panel discussion.
“Respectfully, assemblyman…there would not be repeat offenders if the officers were not constantly arresting them,” Maddrey said to applause.
“So…with all respect to you, I’m not gonna stand here with the notion that my cops are walking away and not making arrests. When we are constantly arresting the same people, I think it proves that we are.”
Maddrey angrily continued, “I had a young officer shot on Tuesday because he was right where we asked him to be and he was out there doing his job.
“He got hit by gunfire because he was there. Respectfully, assemblyman, our officers are out there and working,” Maddrey said to a second round of applause.
The cop in question, Officer Paul Lee, 34, survived his wounds after a 16-year-old boy wearing a black mask allegedly opened fire on an NYPD cruiser that approached him and another, unidentified masked male at a known trouble spot in The Bronx.
Dinowitz, a bail-reform advocate who chairs the Codes Committee that reviews legislation involving the justice system, also said recent tweaks to the state’s controversial, 2019 bail reform law meant “repeat offenders can be — under many, many circumstances — now held. Bail can be set.”
“Now, of course, many people can afford bail. People should not be deluded into thinking that bail means people are going to be on Rikers [Island] because the only people who are going to be on Rikers are the ones that don’t have any money,” he said.
At one point in his remarks, Dinowitz appeared to blame the victims of some recidivist shoplifters, saying, “I’ve met with owners in my district of CVS, for example, and they’ve been repeatedly victimized, and we know that. And I asked, and they have not necessarily taken the steps that they need to take, even though we know it costs money, and that’s not really fair.”
The lawmaker also alluded to Thursday’s front-page story in The Post that tied recent surges in the number of criminal cases dismissed across the city to the demands imposed on prosecutors by changes to the evidence-exchange rule known as “discovery.”
“I think we do need more resources…in our criminal justice system, whether it’s with the police, or with the DA’s office because they’re also short-handed in terms of complying with some of the statutes that we passed in Albany,” he said.
“Crime is higher than it was a few years ago…But we can’t do what has to be done without resources for the police, for the DAs and to help people and keep them away from crime in the first place.”