The head of the NYPD’s Lieutenants Benevolent Association has slammed New York City’s progressive laws and policies that are hamstringing the police from keeping violent criminals locked up, saying the Big Apple effectively has what amounts to a “catch-and-release” policy for dangerous offenders.
Lou Turco, the president of the police union, made the comments in an interview with Fox News Digital in the wake of a mob of illegal immigrants viciously attacking two NYPD officers – with several of the cop-beating suspects bolting from the state after being arrested and then released.
Turco said the whole incident – including the beat-down, the arrests and releases, the lack of deportations as well as a migrant flipping the bird to reporters – is a microcosm of what’s going on every day in the city.
“Unfortunately, we’re not surprised that they skipped town and that’s the thing that’s so disheartening because they gave no bail to people who have no community ties whatsoever to New York,” Turco said.
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“So, what makes (prosecutors) think they’re going to stay here and follow up with their court date? What rational person would think that somebody that’s a so-called asylum seeker, who doesn’t have a residence here, is going to be responsible enough to make his way to court when they just acted so irresponsibly?”
“The reason it’s done this way is because New York has become a catch-and-release city,” Turco said.
Five migrants were initially arrested, charged and then let go in relation to the attack, with police believing they had fled the city and headed to California.
A sixth suspect, Yohenry Brito, 24, was later arrested and is still in custody while two more migrants — who were arguably the most violent of the mob — are still at large and have yet to be apprehended. The at-large duo can be seen in the now-viral video kicking and stomping the police while they are on the ground trying to apprehend another illegal immigrant.
On Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced charges against seven of the migrants amid public outrage following the attack. Jhoan Boada, 22, who was arrested and then released before flipping the bird to waiting reporters, was not indicted even though prosecutors say he “kicked an officer in the upper body at least once.”
Turco is stunned by the suspects being let go, saying that police are doing their job of tracking down criminals but city officials have no desire to keep them locked up.
“The NYPD is excellent at catching the people who perpetrate crimes, but New York City doesn’t want to prosecute and incarcerate anybody anymore,” said Turco, who heads up the organization of 1,700 active police members and 3,500 retirees.
“And this fits the narrative after we went through the George Floyd riots with millions of dollars of destruction, hundreds of people arrested and numerous officers assaulted. I believe the number is less than 10 that were fully prosecuted.”
Changes to the state’s bail laws in 2019 eliminated cash bail and mandated release for most misdemeanor and nonviolent offenses, which critics say is a soft-touch approach to policing that has exacerbated the city’s crime problem. Proponents say the law aimed to reduce the risk that someone of a limited means would be jailed because they could not afford to pay bail.
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Many of the migrants had prior arrests before being charged in the Times Square attack and had been arrested and released before – but not deported.
“How many more times do they have to be arrested? Does somebody have to be hospitalized or killed? These are crime waves,” Turco said.
“They just viciously beat these two cops. It’s clear as day, there’s no ambiguity here, it’s straight in front of you.”
“They get arrested, they get released, and they are so arrogant that when they walk out of jail they give everybody the finger or they don’t look like they’re repentant of this at all – and then they flee the state.”
“It’s a microcosm of what’s going on in the criminal justice (system) in New York. What you just saw play out in front of you is what’s going on every day in the city of New York.”
In terms of immigration, the NYPD is also prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration officials when it comes to deporting criminal illegal immigrants under a 2014 City Council law signed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio. This meant that ICE only found out about the migrants’ arrest via the media, a high-ranking ICE official said earlier this week.
“The immigration status in New York doesn’t mean anything because they’re not deporting people, they’re not holding people. There’s no desire to hold people accountable for their crimes in the city of New York.”
Turco said that the public is also kept in the dark about what happens to suspects after they are arrested.
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“We stop the transparency when an arrest is made. Nobody knows anything about prosecution and incarceration. We don’t keep track of any of those numbers or they don’t make them public at least,” Turco said.
Turco said the lack of transparency in these instances doesn’t stem from legislation, rather than a lack of motivation from city officials.
“It’s because there’s no will to do it, because the will is to not have anybody incarcerated and have nobody held accountable for crime. That’s the will.”
Reforms to policing, prosecutions and incarceration in New York City have largely been driven by progressive ideology over the last decade, with the deep-blue city having an unshakable Democratic majority. Of the 51-member council, 45 are Democrats, while New York City Mayor Eric Adams is also a Democrat, although Turco said the mayor is also being held back by the law.
In the latest piece of progressive policing legislation, the City Council passed a law last week that will require the NYPD to record the race, gender and age of most people they stop for questioning in an effort to reduce racial profiling.
Adams, a former NYPD captain, tried to veto the bill, arguing it could slow NYPD response times, undermine community-oriented policing and add tens of millions of dollars in overtime to the NYPD budget.
Turco agrees with the mayor, arguing that the City Council members have no experience of policing.
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“You have people that never put a vest on, never did the job making determinations and they don’t take any advice or input from the mayor who did this job before. They went completely against him,” Turco said.
“I don’t know where all of this goes, we’re going down slowly. It’s death by a thousand cuts.”
“They keep making more and more legislation that makes no sense whatsoever. They don’t look at the victims, they really don’t. They don’t take victims seriously.”
“They want to protect the perpetrator and I don’t understand why.”