Wednesday, 27 May 2020

De Blasio’s plan to free violent inmates is surely his most reckless ever

Mayor Bill de Blasio has had some hare-brained schemes in his day but surely nothing as reckless as his plan to free dangerous Rikers detainees onto city streets — amid a crisis, no less.

That all five district attorneys and the special narcotics prosecutor are ripping the plan is telling.

De Blasio says he needs to spring these inmates to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the jails. Yet the prosecutors blast him, for starters, for the “haphazard process” of choosing them. As of Sunday, the city had released about 650.

The inmates Team de Blasio sought to let out, as The Post has reported, included Jose Gonzalez, Christopher Ransom and Jagger Freeman. Gonzalez is accused of killing Bronx FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo with her own ambulance. Ransom and Freeman are accused of taking part in a Queens robbery that led to the friendly fire death of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen.

The mayor’s office denies the three were on the list, but an aide to Queens DA Melinda Katz (who was elected on a criminal-justice reform platform) confirmed Ransom and Freeman and other sources Gonzalez.

Yes, some releases make sense — as we’ve argued before. (Close to 800 inmates have been quarantined, and there are nearly 200 confirmed cases.) But not accused killers or other violent inmates. That should be obvious.

Rather, de Blasio needs to do his job and take steps to protect inmates from the virus while also keeping them in custody — and off the streets.

Corrections union boss Elias Husamudeen suggests one way to do that: Retrofit the city’s jail barge as a hospital for inmates who test positive.

Whatever de Blasio and his aides decide, though, public safety must remain paramount. The pandemic is bad enough; the last thing the city needs now is for violent thugs to be roaming the streets.

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