NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for statewide reforms to the laws on bail and diversion programs after it was discovered that the man accused of killing an NYPD officer in Harlem had been ordered into a diversion program by a judge last year.
Mayor de Blasio says that Tyrone Howard, the man accused of killing Officer Randolph Holder, had been in a diversion treatment program last year following his arrest as an alternative to incarceration. The mayor says he shouldn't have qualified for the program given his history. Now de Blasio is calling for reform to how these programs and bail are set, stating that judges should consider the defendant's risk to the public.
According to police officials, Howard had been arrested 18 times since he was a teenager for numerous drug charges and a shooting in 2009. Howard was not prosecuted for that shooting.
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The diversion program Howard was offered included addiction treatment, counseling and random drug tests. Mayor de Blasio says the program can be a useful alternative for those that are sent to jail as a first-time offender or have committed low-level crimes.
The judge who recommended the program to Howard has defended his decision, saying it was accurate and appropriate at the time. The mayor says judges should be allowed to consider a defendant's risk to public safety when setting bail and considering alternatives to incarceration. New York is currently one of three states that does not allow judges to consider level of danger when setting bail, only flight risk.