New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who dismissed criticism of bail reform by insisting to GOP gubernatorial opponent Lee Zeldin, “I don’t know why that’s so important to you,” said on Sunday that the GOP had created a “conspiracy” to make Americans feel they are less safe.
Hochul made her remarks when she was interviewed by MSNBC’s Al Sharpton.
“These are master manipulators,” she charged. “They have this conspiracy going all across America trying to convince people in Democratic states that they’re not as safe. Well guess what? They’re also not only election deniers, they’re data deniers. The data shows that shootings and murders are down in our state by 15% even in New York City, down 20% on Long Island where Lee Zeldin comes from, and it’s the Republican states, where they have almost no restrictions on guns, because of the abundance of guns people are killing each other with more frequency. The safer places are the Democratic states,” she claimed.
Those statistics also showed an 11% increase in rape, a 14% increase in felonious assault, a 29% increase in burglary, and a nearly 39% increase in grand larceny.
Last week, Zeldin focused on bail reform in the state as he consistently attacked Hochul for supporting it.
Early in the debate, Zeldin attacked Hochul’s erstwhile support for cashless bail, saying, “Kathy Hochul supports cashless bail; as soon as it got implemented she was out bragging about it. She chose the champion of the Defund the Police movement and the architect of cashless bail, Brian Benjamin — yeah, that guy who got arrested and had to resign — that was her first big decision to make as lieutenant governor. We need to repeal cashless bail. … We need to make our streets safe again. I’m running to take back our streets and to support unapologetically our men and women in law enforcement.”
New York passed a major bail reform law in 2019 which barred cash bail unless there were a serious misdemeanor or felony. Defendants could not be held by judges based on whether the judge thought the defendant was dangerous. That law was reformed after public outcry in both 2020 and 2022.
Hochul had stated, “We never said that the cause of crime in the state is because of bail reform. That is too simplistic. That is a political slogan.”
The NYPD reported in August compared to July 2021, July 2022 found citywide shooting incidents had increased 13.4% and the number of murders citywide increased for the month by 34.3%.
That same month, Hochul stated, “I will look at all the data. I’ve yet to see data that shows a correlation with a net increase in crime and the bail laws. Because it doesn’t exist in any other city.”
Later, Hochul mocked Zeldin for his focus on bail reform.
Zeldin prompted Hochul’s cavalier answer by declaring, “I stated that the first day that I’m in office, I’m going to declare a crime emergency and suspend cashless bail and these other criminal laws because there is a crime emergency. My opponent thinks that right now, there’s a polio emergency going on but there’s not a crime emergency — different priorities that I’m hearing from people right now that are not being represented, from this governor who still to this moment, what are we, halfway through this debate? She still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes.”
“Anyone who commits a crime under our laws, especially with the change we made to bail, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you,” Hochul replied.