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Texas bail reform measures being implemented in the wake of the coronavirus crisis have led to a spike in crime and some police officials are warning of the consequences.
The police chief of Houston decried the “unprecedented violence” assaulting the city and blamed the pandemic for new orders that have effectively made it easier for criminals to go free.
“The last few months have been a time frame of just some unprecedented violence,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday at a press conference Wednesday, according to KHOU-TV.
“Put up some prayers for these evil series of events that are going on in our city,” he added after a triple shooting earlier that morning in northeast Houston.
Reports indicated Kendrick Thomas allegedly shot his pregnant ex-girlfriend, her sister, and their mother all before dawn. The 24-year-old woman, identified as Cody John, who was 7-months pregnant, died as did the baby. Her mother and sister were hospitalized in “serious but stable condition,” Acevedo said.
But Thomas allegedly went on to shoot John’s current boyfriend, James Bass, who was reportedly in stable condition. Thomas, whose last arrest was in 2016 for a traffic violation, ended up killing himself before police apprehended him.
“The suspect took his own life inside that vehicle,” Acevedo said.
“Sadly, this appears to be a case of domestic violence turned deadly,” he added.
The Houston Police Officers’ Union posted scathing rebukes of the state’s criminal justice reform this week in the wake of another deadly incident that outraged the city when a man arrested more than 70 times was freed on no bond and went on to murder a grandmother in broad daylight.
Man arrested 67 times is released with no bond, murders 80-yr-old woman in a parking lot https://t.co/tXEbqYZ5dE
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 21, 2020
Union president Joe Gamaldi slammed the “monster who stabbed, murdered, robbed an innocent 80 yr old grandmother,” and called out the “colossal failure” of bail reform in Houston.
Crime victims’ advocate Andy Kahan also warned of the increasing violence in the city.
“Murder has just skyrocketed,” he said, according to KHOU, referring to bail reform measures that have allowed violent suspects out of jail before a trial and provide the opportunity for many of them to commit more crimes.
“I haven’t seen levels like this in quite a while,” Kahan added. “And I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was mocked in March after he asked criminals to “just chill” during the quickly spreading virus epedemic.
“Let me just make my plea. Until the coronavirus is resolved, criminals take a break, OK!” the city’s Democratic mayor announced during a media briefing at the time. “Stay home, OK? Stay home. And don’t commit any crimes!”
— MilitaryWife (@ArmstrongFail) March 31, 2020
“And that way, they’ll stay safe and out of jail, and police officers can stay safe and go home to their families, OK?” Turner said. “So everybody chill! Crooks, criminals, you chill! Wait until the coronavirus is over! OK, and then we’ll all be OK!”
But criminals apparently did not think Turner’s idea was a good one. And, according to Kahan, the pandemic combined with the liberal policies are a recipe for disaster in Houston.
“You’ve got a powder keg out there waiting to explode,” he said.