The NY Daily News misinforms in its coverage of the case of a 20-year-old Arjun Tyler, who is currently incarcerated on charges of stealing money from a laundromat and a retail store. Although coverage blames bail reform for his earlier release on separate matters, the Daily News has previously misattributed individuals’ release to bail reform. Worse, the article’s headline linked him and bail reform to an alleged attempted rape (which they call rape), yet he was never actually charged with this or any other sex offense. This is yet another example of this bad-faith attempt to undermine the new law. Mr. Tyler appears to have been arrested on a July 2018 charge for which he paid bail, and was rearrested in December 2018 on a felony charge. Under the new law, he could have had bail set based on the alleged commission of a felony while released on another matter even after January 1, 2020.
Mr. Tylor spent more than one year on Rikers Island on an open case, without any finding of guilt. If Mr. Tyler were wealthy, he would have been free to fight these charges after posting $20,000 bail.
This article follows a familiar formula. It misstates the law, adopts sensationalized and inaccurate or misleading information from pro-carceral groups, provides little if any context, and declines to mention that the people accused are presumed innocent or that they would have been released previously if they were wealthy. Bail has never been intended as a pronunciation of guilt or a predictor of future bad acts that any one individual may or may not commit. Assuming that any person who is accused of non-violent crimes will go on to commit attempted rape, and thus detaining them indefinitely, is not a workable, constitutional or moral solution. This is a cherry-picked story designed to smear bail reform.
It is noteworthy that the Daily News and other media outlets repeatedly decline to apply the same calculus in specific cases depending on the identity of the accused person. On the same day as their coverage of this case, the New York Post covered the story of NYPD Detective Joel Crooms, who was arrested and released on two separate felony matters alleging the abuse of his daughter. Det. Crooms was previously arrested for brandishing his service weapon during a fight while off-duty. Not once does that story implicate criminal justice reform for his release in multiple cases, use dehumanizing language to describe him, or express concern at his ability to remain at liberty.