NYPD top cop Dermot Shea calls for bail reform after Post exclusive

NYPD top cop Dermot Shea calls for bail reform after Post exclusive

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on Thursday said “bad policies” like bail reform allowed for the random, gang-related slaying of an innocent dad — as the victim’s pals blasted the Bronx judge who cut the alleged killer a break on an earlier gun rap.

“You really can’t make that up,” Shea told 1010 WINS radio of the story exclusively reported by The Post. “I mean if you read that story, you think it’s not true but, unfortunately, it’s tragically true.

“It’s what New Yorkers and the men and women of this department are facing every day.”

Shea also said, “My takeaway is clearly this wasn’t what was intended with some of the recent laws,” adding that enacting tougher bail laws “should be and it must be the priority for Albany.”

“New Yorkers deserve better and this is a circumstance of, you know, bad policies have consequences,” he said. “You have innocent people getting hurt.”

On Wednesday night, The Post revealed that a reputed 16-year-old gang member, Alberto Ramirez, was put back on the streets after acting Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle reduced his bail in March following Ramirez’s third gun bust in four months.

On May 16, Ramirez allegedly fired a shot into a crowd on rival gang turf in Fordham Heights, killing Eric Velasquez, 34, as he and his cousin walked past a sidewalk dice game.

Eric Velasquez with his son, Jax.
Eric Velasquez was killed when a 16-year-old gang member fired into a crowd.

In a Thursday statement regarding Boyle’s decision, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration said of Ramirez: “This defendant is an adolescent offender under the recent Raise the Age statutes, which in the Youth Part of Supreme Court require a presumption against custody.”

“The fact that bail was set in the most recent gun case, is a clear indication of the seriousness of the crime,” spokesman Lucian Chalfen added.

Asked what he would do to rewrite the state’s bail laws, Shea said, “Judges need discretion to be able to keep repeat offenders and dangerous people off the streets.”

“We don’t want to see people in jail, but unfortunately there is that small percentage that are not responding to all that is offered,” he said.


“Remember, the bail reform covers a lot of different issues, including [that] when you do have to set bail, it’s the least restrictive — and then you see things like this start to come out.”

Meanwhile, at the scene of the shooting, a lifelong friend of Velasquez’s blasted Boyle for reducing Ramirez’s bail, after which his family was able to spring him from jail.

“The problem is they’re letting kids out,” Jamal Thomas said.

“It don’t matter what they do, so these kids say, ‘I got caught with a gun and nothing happens. I gotta get another gun.’”

Thomas, 36, said, “It don’t make sense, someone gets arrested with a gun and comes home.”

“Look at these kids. It’s not a big thing for them to get caught with a gun. We’re teaching these kids that lesson,” he said.

Thomas added: “But if you think, ‘I got caught with a loaded firearm and I gotta do three years,’ I think it would change out here.”

Another friend who declined to give his name also said lenient treatment by the courts was emboldening violent, gun-toting teens.

“They growin’ like this now! They know nothing gonna happen. No fear. No fear of nothin’! The cops, killin’, jail, nothin’! Stone cold,” the 31-year-old man said.

“Ask the cops who came, they know. It ain’t men shooting people. They come here that night, they ain’t looking at me! Or him or him! We were right here! They looking at these little bastards.”

Eric Velasquez with his son, Jax.
Eric Velasquez with his son, Jax.

Ramirez surrendered to cops on Monday and was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

Thomas said Velazquez lives in Yonkers and had brought his kids to visit their grandma when he was slain.

Alberto Ramirez was released after acting Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle reduced his bail in March.
Alberto Ramirez was released after acting Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle reduced his bail in March.

Ramirez lives with his family in a subsidized, luxury apartment building about five blocks from the shooting scene.

The “Creston Avenue Residence” opened in 2015 and is operated by the Volunteers of America-Greater New York, which says it “provides a safe, supportive environment for some of the city’s most at-risk residents.”

A doorman wouldn’t let The Post enter, but Ramirez’s sister disputed the allegations against him during a brief telephone interview.

“I don’t know why they say he did it. There ain’t no photos, no video saying he did it,” said Marisol Duran, 30.

“He’s a good kid. He’s a very good kid! In the past, he’s had his issues. He lost his father.”

She added: “We’re still trying to figure out what happened. There’s a lot of lies being said about him. This is still under investigation.”


About the author


Raymond Hicks

With a knack for storytelling, Raymond started The Madison Leader Gazette about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the US & World section, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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