Knife-wielding robber released under new Manhattan DA's rules

Knife-wielding robber released under new Manhattan DA's rules
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

When newly minted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was sworn into office he immediately issued a memo to his department ordering a halt to most prison sentences and bail for all but the most violent felons. At that time, many of us were asking how long it would be before the toxic effects of these policies would begin delivering real-world horror stories. As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait very long at all. On Saturday, William Rolon, described by the NYPD as a “career criminal,” walked into a Duane Reade store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and began filling up a trash bag with more than $2,000 worth of merchandise. He then threatened a female manager at the store with a knife before fleeing the scene. Later that same day he returned to the shop and stole more goods.

Fortunately, Rolon was already well known to law enforcement officials and he was captured shortly thereafter. As it turns out, Mr. Rolon had little to worry about. Police initially charged him with armed robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. But despite having been identified as having committed armed robbery and having a rap sheet longer than a city bus, Rolon’s robbery and weapons charges were dropped and he was instead hit with two counts of petit larceny by the District Attorney’s office. And, of course, he was released. (NY Post)

A wanted ex-con allegedly stole more than $2,000 worth of merchandise by threatening a drug store worker with a knife — yet had his armed robbery charges downgraded under the controversial, progressive policies of Manhattan’s new district attorney, The Post has learned…

“Bragg’s policies are an affront to every law-abiding citizen in New York City,” fumed former Manhattan assistant district attorney Daniel Ollen, who’s now a defense lawyer.

“Violent criminals now have carte blanche to re-offend, knowing full well that they will never again sniff the inside of a jail cell.”

Ollen added: “If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, think again. God help us.”

Rolon’s case wasn’t even the first incident like this in the opening days of Bragg’s time in office. Two days earlier, Cristian Hall, 30, was arrested for armed robbery at a TJ Maxx in Chelsea. Hall already had been arrested 21 times on charges including robbery with a deadly weapon and assault, with nine cases still pending before the courts. But Bragg’s office omitted any mention of the weapon used in the latest robbery and had the charges lowered to “shoplifting” and released him yet again.

It’s interesting that the Post received a quote from Daniel Olien for their coverage of this story. His experience working for the District Attorney’s office certainly makes him a subject matter expert, but he now works as a criminal defense attorney. He’s supposed to be one of the guys who would support making it easier to get his clients out of the slammer. But even Olien is outraged over Bragg’s handling of these cases.

Another Manhattan defense attorney, Michael Discioarro, accused Bragg of ignoring the victim. (In this case, the female store manager who said she was in fear for her life and didn’t want to return to work.) “He’s telling the victim: You don’t deserve protection from the state,” Discioarro said.

I’m sure every sane person reading this is already aware of what’s going on here, but it bears repeating. We all know what happens when you remove policies that provide a disincentive to breaking the law and committing acts of violence. Those who were already prone to engage in such activity become far more likely to do so. And now the welcome mat has been rolled out for criminals in Manhattan, a place famous for upscale stores and tourists, providing attractive targets for criminals. We’re not even two weeks into Bragg’s tenure as District Attorney and the career criminals are already taking him up on the invitation.

And yet the new Mayor of New York City came out early to express his “faith” in Bragg and he has yet to say a word about this unfolding disaster. If it weren’t for the very real danger being posed to the community, this would almost be comical. The recent Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up” was allegedly created as a humorous parody, warning the viewer about politicians who ignore climate change issues. Perhaps the producers could work on a sequel about officials who ignore or even support a dangerous crime wave.

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