NYC Mayor Tries To Release Robbery Suspect Involved In Cop's Friendly-Fire Death
New York, NY – A slew of violent criminals, including two men charged in the connection with the shooting death of New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective Brian Simonsen, were slated for release from Rikers Island because of coronavirus.
ABC News reported that 28-year-old Christopher Ransom and 26-year-old Jagger Freeman, who are charged with an armed robbery that led to Det. Simonsen’s death via friendly fire, were both on the list of inmates to be released.
The list also included 45-year-old Viktoriya Nasyrova, who is charged with trying to murder a woman with poisoned cheesecake during an identity theft scam in 2016.
But the release of violent offenders was stopped at the eleventh hour on Monday by an intervention by the city’s five district attorneys, ABC News reported.
The district attorneys who represent the five boroughs of New York City issued a joint letter on March 30 that opposed the release of violent offenders.
“We want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety,” they said in their letter, according to ABC News.
The letter, sent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Corrections Commissioner Cynthia Brann, said the city needed a better plan to deal with the problem.
"We fully appreciate the unique risks that the COVID-19 virus poses in our jails, and we agree that the number of those incarcerated must decrease to limit the spread of the virus on Rikers Island and in other facilities," the district attorneys wrote. "At the same time, we want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety. In such instances, we have communicated our concerns, but these concerns have not always been heeded."
New York City's Board of Corrections (NYCBOC) has been struggling to tamp the spread of coronavirus inside Rikers Island, a massive complex that is one of the largest jail facilities in the world, by releasing as many offenders as possible, ABC News reported.
The district attorneys expressed concern in their letter that their "concerns have not always been heeded” by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ).
"As an example, when we learned last week that the Commissioner of Corrections was about to use her authority to order an across-the-board release of hundreds of inmates serving city sentences, we were assured that the release would not include those serving time for domestic violence or sex offenses, given the risks to victims. Unfortunately, we later learned that such individuals were indeed included in the ranks of those to be released," the letter read.