New York governor still backs bail reform despite NYC shootings, police deaths

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A spike in shootings in New York City just weeks into the new year – including last week’s Harlem ambush that killed two police officers – hasn’t swayed Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul from standing by her call for bail reform. 

“I will absolutely stand behind the fundamental premise on why we needed bail reform in the first place,” Hochul said Wednesday. 

The governor’s comment came in response to a reporter who asked if she would consider a plan to give judges more discretion in setting bail, citing calls by Republicans in Congress and even New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, for her to do so.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a new conference in Albany, New York, Jan. 24, 2022. 
(Getty Images)

Hochul was speaking at a news conference following Wednesday’s first meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns. 

The governor said she was open to conversations about potential reforms to the state’s bail system, but insisted she would not “cave to pressure.”

Changed the law

New York lawmakers changed the state’s bail law in 2019 and dropped the number of crimes for which judges are permitted to set bail, primarily limiting them to violent felonies.

Judges cannot force defendants in most misdemeanors and some felony crimes to post bail before being released from jail as a result of the law.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams addresses reporters about two NYPD officers being shot while responding to a domestic violence call in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Jan,. 21, 2022. 

Hochul, 63, who became governor in August after the resignation of scandal-plagued former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said her basis for supporting bail reform is rooted in the pursuit of fairness for defendants. 

‘A different life’

“You had two individuals accused of identical crimes/offenses even stealing a backpack, and one person goes to Rikers for three years because they couldn’t post bail,” Hochul said, referring to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island prison. 

“Another person whose parents have money, or they’re living in the suburbs, and now they can head back after posting bail, to their jobs, to school, in a different life. That is what bail reform is set out to do.” 

Hochul’s comments came less than a week after two New York City police officers were killed last Friday while responding to a domestic violence incident involving a mother and son. 

In a separate incident Jan. 18, a 16-year-old suspect allegedly shot a New York City police officer in a leg.

The New York Police Department logo is seen on a patrol vehicle.

The teen might be freed on a $250,000 bond by using cash obtained from a record label deal, sources told Fox News Digital last week.

According to NYPD data, shooting incidents are up by more than 10% this year compared to January 2021.

Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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