Man With 170 Arrests Released Into Public

A serial offender in New York has been released despite having 170 arrests on his record. Michael Wilson was arrested for selling MetroCard swipes and has been arrested 27 times for similar offenses in just the last eight months. Local District Attorney Alvin Bragg, however, decided not to prosecute Mr. Wilson, saying it was not in the interests of justice.

NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper took to Twitter to express his exasperation at the DA’s decision and wrote, “If there was a hall of fame for Subway offenders — this guy would be a first ballot inductee.”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has not prosecuted subway fare evasion since 2017, but a spokesperson insisted that it is holding people accountable if they “jeopardize the safety of other passengers and transit workers.” The spokesperson also said that transit crime has decreased as a result of collaboration with law enforcement partners.

Mr. Bragg has come under fire several times since entering the DA’s office, facing accusations of being soft on crime. Figures show that he has downgraded more than half of the felony offenses to reach his desk, and when charges are made, conviction is secured only 51% of the time.

Jennifer Harrison, the founder of Victims Rights NY, condemned Mr. Bragg’s approach to crime and asked how New York is supposed to tackle criminality and make sure its law-abiding residents are safe “when people like Alvin Bragg are in charge.” She accused Bragg of having a “public defender mentality” and urged him to do his job and enforce the law.

On his first day in office, Bragg controversially issued a memo to staff asking prosecutors not to seek prison sentences for offenders, except in cases of homicides, serious sexual offenses, domestic violence, or public corruption. The memo also asked Assistant District Attorneys to consider “impacts of incarceration,” including its effect on a convict’s future employment and housing prospects.