News and Commentary

WATCH: NY Firefighters Chase, Catch Chronic Criminal Who Slugged Elderly Woman. He’s Charged, Released Within A Week.
E. Dougherty/WireImage/Getty Images

Four Brooklyn firefighters, witnessing a man on a bicycle slug a 60-year-old woman as he rode by her in front of their firehouse, chased him down and restrained him until the police arrived. Then, thanks to New York’s criminal justice system, only days later, the suspect, who reportedly had 18 prior arrests from robbery to assault and was arrested on August 2 for allegedly slashing a man in the face, was released without bail after a return court appearance.

On August 26, the heroic firefighters from Engine Company 214/Ladder 111 saw Daniel Biggs, 53, bicycle past a 60-year-old woman and punch her in the mouth before the firefighters chased Biggs and caught him.

“Biggs, of Brooklyn, was charged with assault, menacing, harassment and attempted assault. He was arraigned the following day and ordered held on $20,000, but was released without bail after a return court appearance four days later, court records show,” the New York Post reported.

“Police say while trying to restrain the suspect, a 29-year-old firefighter was punched in the eye, causing bruising and swelling,” WMCA Action News 5 reports.

Twin Alzokari, who works at J&A Deli and Grocery, near the firehouse, stated, “It’s bad. You can’t hit a woman. She’s very nice. The whole family, I know them. I grew up with them … I just see the guy running with the bike, and I see the fire department came after him. You feel safe. They’re always helping the community, and that’s a very, very good job that they did.”

In early January, Barry Latzer, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, commented on the bail reform instituted in New York City. He explained in National Review:

The new law prohibits arraignment judges (the ones that handle an arrested person’s first court appearance) from demanding bail for certain defendants or remanding them to jail. Instead, they must release the defendant on his own recognizance (ROR). This release order supposedly does not apply to violent felony offenders. However, numerous crimes of violence or potential violence are found among the state’s so-called nonviolent felonies, including certain robberies, rapes, and assaults.

And judges in New York — unlike judges in 46 other states — may not take public safety into account when deciding whether or not to release someone. While New York law directs arraignment judges to focus on the likelihood of return when ruling on release, it does not provide for an assessment of the risk of nonappearance.

He concluded, “It is true that defendants who have been arrested but not yet convicted should not be punished. It is also true that without some security — cash deposits, bail, or jail — many thousands of these defendants will never show up for their day in court, and some will commit additional crimes once freed. The balance between individual rights and public safety is best achieved by letting the judges determine on a case-by-case basis who is a flight risk or a danger to the public and helping them make this determination through data-based assessments. Top-down, arbitrary decision-making by state government simply won’t work.”

Instagram post with video of the incident below (if video does not play, view it here):

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