New York City Mayor Eric Adams reportedly cited the death of Christina Yuna Lee in his push to tweak bail reform laws during a private meeting with Democratic legislators in Albany on Monday.
Lee was fatally stabbed in her own apartment in Chinatown on Sunday, making her the latest Asian American victim of violence in the city. Just a month ago, Michelle Go was shoved to her death in front of an oncoming train at the Times Square subway station.
Since Go’s death, Adams has come under increased pressure to make the city safer. In his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” he cited the state’s 2020 bail reforms and 2017 “Raise the Age” law as partly to blame for an uptick in violent crimes in the city.
Adams’ criminal justice plan calls for the elimination of cash bail, as well as the creation of a “dangerousness” standard that judges can use to determine who stays behind bars after being arrested.
Lee’s alleged killer, 25-year-old Assamad Nash, was a driving force in Adams’ Albany visit, as both Lee and Go were targeted by repeat offenders.
“He’s a poster person for a failing system that creates crises with a downstream mindset. We need to really examine what happened here,” he told CBS New York. “He should have not been on the streets.”
Adams, however, failed to secure commitments during his first trip as mayor to the state capitol.
“Well we can tell you that we are all very concerned, clearly about crime,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said, according to Spectrum News NY1. “And we also know that the uptick in crime is a national issue. And we know that we have done important things as it relates to criminal justice reform.”
Criminal justice reform advocates also believe that Adams’ “dangerousness” standard proposal would disproportionately impact Black and Latinx communities.
“Adding a ‘dangerousness provision’ to the existing bail statute would only cycle more Black and Latinx New Yorkers through our broken and punitive criminal legal system, feeding mass incarceration,” the Legal Aid Society said, according to the New York Daily News. “Returning to a system where New York incarcerates more youth will not work, because it never reduced crime nor benefited public safety in the 100 years before Raise the Age or bail reform were passed.”
Despite the lack of support for his plan, Adams reaffirmed his intention to keep New York City safe, even if it means getting help “from other places.”
“If I am not getting the things I laid out in the blueprint, I still have the obligation to keep the city safe. That’s why we are putting in place our anti-gun unit, that’s why we’re going to go after the causes and feeds of crime,” he told reporters, according to New York 1.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has not conveyed support for Adams’ plans, said the bail reform law is unlikely to be addressed until after the budget deadline on March 31, the New York Post reported.