New York Post Lies About Sensational Subway Assault, Exploits Pain For False Narrative

The New York Post once again seized on a sensational instance of crime to call for rollbacks to modest reforms and incite public outrage. After an alleged subway assault involving women in green morph suits was caught on video, the Post published multiple stories about what they termed the “Green Goblin” crew and allowed – without correction – a source in the story to falsely blame bail reform for the incident.

Fact Check: False

The Briefing

The New York Post once again seized on a sensational instance of crime to call for rollbacks to modest reforms and incite public outrage. After an alleged subway assault involving women in green morph suits was caught on video, the Post published multiple stories about what they termed the “Green Goblin” crew and allowed – without correction – a source in the story to falsely blame bail reform for the incident. 

Bail reform did not affect violent felonies

Bail reform had nothing to do with this case. The one person who has been arrested to date was charged with second-degree robbery – a Class C Violent Felony, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3.5 years and maximum of 15. This charge, like all violent felonies, remains untouched by bail reform. A judge could have set bail in this case, but apparently opted for supervised release instead, apparently based in part on the individual’s relative lack of involvement. Bail reform in New York only applies to some low-level felonies and misdemeanors

Dehumanizing language helps rationalize mass pretrial detention

The Post granted anonymity to the mother of one of the assault survivors to falsely blame bail reform for the subway incident and dehumanize the people who allegedly committed the crime, saying “animals belong behind bars.” The mother’s pain is understandable, but it is irresponsible and exploitative for the Post – and other news outlets who politicize grief and suffering –  to use her comments to push a false narrative.

Unfortunately, the mother’s comments mirror how many system actors, including judges and prosecutors, see people accused of committing crimes. System actors justify the indefinite pretrial caging of people – who are presumed innocent and often did not harm anyone – by dehumanizing them. Bail reform is a crucial measure to protect New Yorkers from death, torture and human rights violations in jail. The Post’s use of dehumanizing language is an intentional strategy that seeks to rationalize pretrial caging by convincing the public that people alleged to have committed crimes are unworthy of due process and basic human rights.

Bail reform is a successful public policy

In contrast to the Post’s ongoing sensationalism about bail reform, here are the facts. After bail reform, nearly 200,000 New Yorkers who would have otherwise been unable to buy their freedom were able to spend time with their families, keep their jobs, and maintain their freedom while presumed legally innocent. Taxpayers were saved hundreds of millions of dollars that would have been otherwise spent on unnecessary mass pretrial incarceration. Meanwhile, rearrests for alleged violent felonies in New York remain exceptionally rare after bail reform. And in New York City, a higher percentage of defendants have returned to court since bail reform than during a four-year period before the law went into effect. 


The Post could learn something from Albany Times Union, which published a responsible, factual editorial on bail reform this week. “It’s downright insulting how gullible some politicians seem to think New Yorkers are,” the editorial board wrote. “Case in point: blaming bail reform for crimes that have nothing to do with it." Where the Post sensationalizes and exploits, the Times Union understands that when it comes to bail reform, we must follow facts, not fear.

Story Link

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