Manhattan, NY – A convicted felon praised New York’s bail reform laws and thanked Democrats as he celebrated his 139th arrest charge following his arraignment on Saturday.
“Bail reform, it’s lit!” repeat offender Charles Barry proclaimed, according to the New York Daily News. “It’s the Democrats! The Democrats know me and the Republicans fear me. You can’t touch me! I can’t be stopped!”
The 56-year-old felon, who has served at least six stints in prison, was most recently arrested on Feb. 13 on outstanding warrants after he failed to show up to court on various other offenses he’d racked up.
At least two of the six arrests he’s had since the bail reform laws went into effect on Jan. 1 involved him stealing money from citizens as they were trying to use the MetroCard vending machines, the New York Daily News reported.
In those cases, Barry dressed up as a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee and acted like he was trying to help passengers using the machines, but he took off with their money instead.
Barry knew that the worst that could happen would possibly be having to spend about 36 hours in police custody, and he was right.
He has been released without bail for every one of his arrests since the bail reform law went into effect, FOX News reported.
“I’m famous! I take $200, $300 a day of your money, cracker!” he hollered at a reporter as he was being led away by police after his latest arrest, according to the New York Daily News. “You can’t stop me!”
Barry was released from jail once again early Saturday.
“It’s a great thing. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said of the law changes, which eliminated bail for so-called nonviolent offenses. “They punked people out for bulls–t crimes.”
According to police, Barry likely would have been held on bail under the state’s old bail laws, which could have limited the number of days he would have been out on the streets victimizing innocent citizens.
“At least before, he’d be remanded and be behind bars for a couple of days. He wouldn’t be able to victimize people,” New York Police Department Transit Bureau Assistant Chief Gerald Dieckmann told the New York Daily News just prior to Barry’s latest arrest.
Meanwhile, Barry’s attorneys at the Legal Aid Society argued that keeping him in jail would do nothing to protect citizens.
“Mr. Barry’s case underscores the need for economic stability and meaningful social services, not a need to rollback bail reform,” the Legal Aid Society told the New York Daily News. “Locking up Mr. Barry on unaffordable bail or worse, remanding without bail, ultimately does nothing to protect the public and fails entirely to address his actual needs.”
Chief Dieckmann vehemently disagreed.
“He’s a career criminal,” the chief said. “This is what he does.”
On Feb. 7, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio finally acknowledged the connection between the city’s skyrocketing crime rate and the state’s new bail reform laws that put all but the most violent offenders immediately back out on the streets.
De Blasio was a big supporter of passing the new law that did away with cash bail as of Jan. 1, but now he’s found himself in the crosshairs after the result was exactly what law enforcement predicted, the New York Post reported.
He spent the first few weeks of 2020 dodging questions about the immediate effects of eliminating cash bail before he could no longer avoid the topic and admitted there was a problem.
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that shootings are up almost 29 percent, robberies are up almost 37 percent, and auto thefts are up by almost 72 percent, WCBS reported.
“We had, for six years, steady decreases in crime across the board. There’s not a whole lot of other environmental things that have changed recently,” the mayor said. “It sort of stands out like a sore thumb that this is the single biggest new thing in the equation and we saw an extraordinary jump.”
“Of course, there’s always a possibility this is plain statistical variation, that happens sometimes,” he added. “But I think it’s pretty clear that there’s only one new major piece in the equation.”
De Blasio has said he supported giving judges more authority to hold offenders in jail if they are deemed a threat to the public, the New York Post reported.
“I think judicial discretion should be clarified so that there are very clear checks and balances, so that we avoid any inkling of bias entering into the process, but I think a system predicated only on the question of flight risk misses the fact that there are some individuals who are just consistently, by their own actions, and by the proof of due process, consistently creat[ing] a threat to their neighbors,” the mayor said.
Republican state lawmakers have tried to get the Democratically-held state house to commit to revising the new bail reform laws but they refused.