Harriman, NY – A domestic violence victim was left to fend for herself after police were forced to turn her attacker loose due to New York’s criminal justice reform laws (video below).
“The fact that it is captured on video goes further showing the strength of the case and the fact that he did have an intention to do harm here,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler told the Mid-Hudson News.
“The real issue here is that this gentleman was released with a ticket and given an order of protection and again is free to terrorize this woman, which in domestic cases there should be bail and situations are often used for a cooling off period,” Hoovler added.
The violent attack occurred on Tuesday afternoon at Superior Package Company, where the victim and the suspect, 20-year-old Jay Vasquez-Paulino, were both working, the Times Herald-Record reported.
Security footage showed Vasquez-Paulino as he walked down a hallway towards a woman and savagely punched her repeatedly in the head and face in front of a male witness.
He lunged towards her again, but his attack was thwarted when another woman opened a door into the hallway and used it to partially block Vasquez-Paulino’s access to the victim.
The suspect initially appeared to abandon his attack and headed outside.
But instead of leaving, he kept the door to the building propped open while he pulled a large knife out of his backpack and tucked it up his sleeve, the video showed.
Police later said that the knife was 12 inches long, the Mid-Hudson News reported.
The victim turned and ran down the hallway as Vasquez-Paulino stormed back inside and chucked a cell phone at her, the video showed.
He then ran up behind her, relentlessly pummeling her in the head as he slammed and pinned her into a corner.
At least five witnesses were in the hallway at the time of the second attack, the video showed.
Before leaving the building, Vasquez-Paulino again lunged at the victim and kicked her while more witnesses walked by.
Once outside, he appeared to pull an object out of his left sleeve and tossed it upwards and out of the camera’s view.
Police responded to the area and charged Vasquez-Paulino with harassment, attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing, the Mid-Hudson News reported.
But due to New York’s bail reform law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, police couldn’t jail the violent suspect, and were forced to issue him an appearance ticket.
“None of those offenses are eligible for bail,” Hoovler told News 12.
“The victim feared for her life, as we fear for her life,” Harriman Police Chief Daniel Henderson told the Times Herald-Record.
Chief Henderson noted that domestic violence advocates and law enforcement entities have spent years pushing for policies aimed at protecting victims, including jail commitments and mandatory arrests.
“Now that’s all gone,” he told the Times Herald-Record. “We don’t have those tools anymore.”
Chief Henderson said he believes lawmakers have opened the floodgates, and that they are striving to protect suspects far more than crime victims.
“My fear is there will be a lot of recidivism and that the victims will no longer be protected if we are not able to not only arraign, but to get bail on these subjects and put them in jail right after the incident happens,” he told the Mid-Hudson News.
Hoovler said that the situation would have been handled much differently before the onset of the sweeping bail reform laws.
“Under the old system, I’m confident there is not a judge in Orange County who would have let him out,” he told the Times Herald-Record.
“We have spent years working with victims to get them to come forward to protect them,” the prosecutor explained during an interview with News 12. “Cases like this sets us back a long way because this individual is going right back to what he was doing before.”
You can watch security footage of the vicious attacks in the video below: