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Trump links O'Neill's NYPD resignation to state bail-reform law

Outgoing NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill, in a

Outgoing NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill, in a May 28 op-ed piece, said "the new legislation, as currently enacted, will have a significant negative impact on public safety." Credit: Jeff Bachner

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump in a Tuesday tweet sought to link NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill’s resignation to a new state bail-reform law that could lead to the early release of nearly 900 New York City inmates currently detained on misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges.

“So sad to see what is happening in New York where Governor Cuomo & Mayor DeBlasio are letting out 900 Criminals, some hardened & bad, onto the sidewalks of our rapidly declining, because of them, city,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Dems are killing our cities. NYPD Commissioner is resigning!”

Trump’s latest dig at Cuomo and de Blasio appears to stem from a New York Post report published Sunday that indicates about 880 city inmates would be eligible for early release from jail before the new bail-reform law goes into effect statewide on Jan. 1.

The law, signed by Cuomo earlier this year as part of a package of criminal justice reform bills, will eliminate cash bail for defendants charged with certain misdemeanor crimes and nonviolent felony offenses. The law is retroactive, clearing the way for hundreds of current defendants to begin the process of applying to have their bail lifted and to be freed until their trial date.  

Proponents of the new law argue the measure will address inequities in the criminal justice system, noting that those who cannot afford bail often languish in detention for weeks and months before their case goes to trial, but detractors of the plan, including O’Neill, have said the move will make it more difficult to deter crime.

O’Neill, in a May 28 op-ed piece published by the New York Daily News, said, “the new legislation, as currently enacted, will have a significant negative impact on public safety.”

Cuomo, in a statement, took aim at Trump's recent decision to change his permanent residency status from New York to Florida, a move Cuomo called "an obvious legal tactic" to avoid a judge forcing the release of his state income taxes.

"Trump's latest deflection for his legal vulnerability was to squeal about the New York bail reform law. However, he failed to mention it is essentially the same bail reform law New Jersey passed several years ago under Republican Governor Chris Christie, his Transition Director."

De Blasio, on Twitter, said, "New York City's never been safer and not just because you finally left town."

O’Neill announced his resignation on Monday, saying he received a private-sector job offer he “couldn’t pass up.” The 35-year veteran of the force, who spent three years as New York City’s top cop, will officially step down from his post on Dec. 1.

Trump’s latest tweet directed at his hometown comes as he is expected to return to the city on Nov. 12 to address the Economic Club of New York, according to a White House official.

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