Dozens of fed-up crime victims — including the widow of a hero NYPD cop — rallied at state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s Bronx office Tuesday to demand a rollback of controversial criminal justice reforms.
“Up there in Albany, they know what they’re doing wrong and they don’t want to do anything about it, and we’re the ones that go through it,” said Dominique Luzuriaga, the widow of slain NYPD cop Jason Rivera, who was gunned down along with his partner, Wilbert Mora, while responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem last January.
“Just listen to us,” she added.
About 75 people joined the protest at Democrat Heastie’s Pelham Gardens office to push for him and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to undo the 2019 reforms.
One of the law’s main directives was to eliminate bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.
“This is not working,” said Eve Hendricks, whose 17-year-old son, Brandon, was gunned down last year. “We can see back the same people who were arrested over and over and over and over for violent crimes. These people need to be in jail.”
Organizers said they’re pushing for judges to be given the discretion to set bail for violent and dangerous defendants with criminal histories, and for passage of the state Gun Kingpin bill, which creates penalties for gun trafficking in the state.
Mayor Eric Adams has been lobbying the state to beef up criminal justice statutes and to roll back the soft-on-crime reforms as he tries to bring the wave of violence that’s plaguing the five boroughs under control.
Last week, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and other top Adams aides visited Albany over two days to lobby legislators to reverse the reforms.
Among those in attendance outside Heastie’s office on Tuesday were NYPD PBA President Pat Lynch and a contingent of city cops.
“Evidently the system is broken and it needs to be fixed,” NYPD Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Mark Stewart said. “We have the New York City Police Department on the streets, making arrests and going through a revolving door.”
“How many times are we going to let this happen?”
Just this year, seven cops have been shot in New York, including the fatal ambush shootings of Rivera and Mora during a domestic dispute in the Bronx.
In recent days, the city has also been plagued by a rash of children being shot.
Last week, 12-year-old Kade Lewin was shot and killed while sitting in a car with his aunt and niece in East Flatbush in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity. His aunt, Jenna Ellis, 20, was wounded but survived the shooting.
Last month, a 3-year-old was hit by a stray bullet outside a Brooklyn daycare center and an 11-year-old was grazed by another bullet in Coney Island.
As of Sunday, there had been 296 shootings in the five boroughs, up from 260, or nearly 12 percent, over the same period last year, and up 74 percent from 2020, according to NYPD crime statistics.
At the Tuesday rally, Geoffrey Davis, whose brother, former city Councilman James Davis, was assassinated at City Hall in 2003, joined the call for safer streets.
“We hear the words, ‘You’re in my thoughts and prayers’ regularly,” Davis said. “We’ve got to put something behind those words.
“This is common sense. Sign the bill,” he said. “Stop holding things back.”
Heastie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.