NBC New York reports hundreds of prisoners released early from Rikers due to COVID concerns are being enabled to re-offend again and again without consequences, law enforcement leaders say.
“We’re continuing to see people get arrested over and over and let right back out. And it really defies common sense,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview with NBC New York.
Of approximately 2,500 defendants sprung from Rikers early because of COVID safety planning, at least 250 have been arrested again since, according to Michael LiPetri, chief of Crime Control Strategies for the NYPD.
Per NY Post, one of the released inmates used his freedom to break into the hotel room of an out-of-state doctor who had flown up from Texas to help with the COVID pandemic.
Ronaldo Lewis was arrested May 26 on charges he swiped around $11,000 in various items from the doctor.
The 29-year-old man was previously cut free on May 6 while he awaited trial for allegedly using a sock stuffed with a heavy object to steal $1,000 from a Manhattan T-Mobile store, sources said.
Police sources said cops have a “good case” in the May 23 incident at the Brooklyn Hotel on Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights.
“He’s on video going into the room… He IDs himself in the video and when we arrest him he had the doctor’s bag,” the source said.
“But he gets [released] for that and he’s back out again,” the source griped.
“Nobody is going into Rikers and everyone is coming out,” the same source fumed.
Then there’s 27-year-old Jonathan Martinez, who has been arrested and let go pending trial three times since his COVID-related release on March 16 — most recently for hurling a brick through a bodega window on June 6 and allegedly stealing socks, according to WNBC-TV.
He was also arrested for allegedly using a box cutter to rob someone of a phone in March and for allegedly stealing food from a high-end Manhattan grocery store in April, the outlet said.
The Legal Aid Society told WNBC that Martinez was initially released in March because prosecutors were not prepared to move forward with that case — in which he was accused of robbing a make-up store, according to the report.