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After learning that inmates released from Rikers Island because of the coronavirus were committing new crimes, groundhog murderer Bill de Blasio lamented dolefully that the criminals’ actions were “unconscionable.” De Blasio mourned during his morning briefing, “I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done.”
De Blasio protested that few released criminals had committed new crimes, saying, “We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling. We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”
The Daily Wire reported, “At least 50 of 1,500 inmates released from lockup over concerns that the virus could spread quickly within a jail have been rearrested, according to the New York Post. Some of the inmates recaptured have been released again under the city’s program to decrease jail populations during the pandemic.”
The New York Times reported on March 30, “In New York City, where the jail system’s chief physician warned several days ago that ‘a storm is coming,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city had released at least 650 people by Sunday from Rikers Island, the city’s main jail complex. Most of those inmates were convicted of nonviolent crimes and serving sentences of less than a year. Hundreds more were under review for possible release.”
In May 2019, de Blasio stated he wanted to “more than triple” the number of teens released from jails with no bail, even if they had been charged with armed robbery, assault or burglary.
Last September the de Blasio administration announced that the City Planning Commission had approved closing the prison at Rikers Island. He stated, “With today’s vote, we are one step closer to closing Rikers Island and creating a smaller, safer, fairer jail system. That’s one step closer to bringing people back to their communities and families, one step closer to ending the cycle of recidivism and one step closer to ending mass incarceration once and for all.”
As far as the groundhog …
In 2014, de Blasio’s press secretary, Phil Walzak, protested vehemently to the media that de Blasio had not cold-bloodedly murdered the famed Staten Island weather-predicting groundhog.
The brouhaha started after The New York Post reported in September 2014 that the Staten Island Zoo’s groundhog, “Chuck,” had died because de Blasio had dropped the groundhog on its head on February 2 at the Groundhog Day ceremony. The groundhog was found dead in its enclosure at the Staten Island Zoo on February 9.
The Post reported:
Instead of revealing the sad loss, the zoo — which gets nearly half of its $3.5 million in annual funding from the city — told the staff to keep the mayor’s office in the dark about the animal’s fate. They told only a few zoo supporters — but claimed that the groundhog had died of natural causes. “I was told he died of old age, that he went to that big farm in the sky,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-SI), who later learned how the animal had died.
At the end of September 2014, de Blasio wouldn’t admit he was responsible for the animal’s death, saying, “I’ll refer that to the Staten Island Zoo.”
Sensing the condemnation of his boss that might eventuate from the death of the groundhog, Walzak wrote New York Times editorial-board member Lawrence Downes. “Oh, please how can a reasonable, rational viewer watch that and ignore the squirming and writhing of the animal as it is placed into the mayor’s hands?” He wrote another member of the media, “The only thing I care abt is people saying mayor killed groundhog . . . which is not true!”