Prominent Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) took aim at what she called “excessive cash bail” sought by prosecutors in the New York City court system on Sunday. This was just one day after a man in Waukesha, Wisconsin, ran over dozens of people at a Christmas parade, only being out of jail due to “inappropriately low” bail.
Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, issued a joint statement with AOC saying that the three sent letters to five New York City District Attorneys demanding briefings on prosecutors’ use of excessive bail in the New York City court system.
According to the authors, “We have grave concerns that excessive bail amounts are leading to unnecessary pretrial detention and contributing to a humanitarian crisis in New York City’s jail system, particularly on Rikers Island. Fourteen people have died this year in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction. Condemning thousands of individuals to languish in an environment plagued by persistent overcrowding and mounting violence as they await trial is not acceptable, and risks violating the federal civil rights of these individuals. If these conditions are not addressed, federal intervention may be necessary to protect detainees from additional harm.”
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In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez stated that “when prosecutors seek excessive cash bail, it results in increased rates of incarceration — particularly for low-income defendants.”
“More than 75% of individuals in custody haven’t been convicted of a crime, and are confined in unsafe conditions simply because they cannot afford cash bail. Condemning thousands of individuals to languish in such environments as they await trial is unacceptable.”
Today, we sent a letter w/ @RepMaloney & @RepRaskin to NYC’s 5 District Attorneys requesting information on excessive bail in the NYC court system. When prosecutors seek excessive cash bail, it results in increased rates of incarceration — particularly for low-income defendants. pic.twitter.com/x9cTOx3zo8
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) November 22, 2021
It was just one day before AOC’s bail tirade that a 39-year-old black male was brought into custody by law enforcement officials and charged with five charges of first-degree intentional murder after running over dozens of people during a Christmas parade in Wisconsin.
A press conference was held to discuss the incident. According to Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson, a lone subject intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people that was celebrating the Waukesha Christmas Parade which resulted in killing five individuals and injuring 48 additional individuals…I just received information that two of the 48 are children and they’re in critical condition.”
Early this month, the suspect was taken into custody after reportedly slapping the mother of his kid in the face and slamming her with his car while at a gas station. Apparently, according to the criminal complaint filed after the event, “officers observed tire tracks on her left pant leg.”
The suspect was eventually freed on a $1,000 bond, which the Milwaukee County District Attorney described as “inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges” against him in a statement published today. Moreover, “the bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail.”