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Cops Criticize N.Y. Bail Reform After Bellport Deaths

Suffolk County Police
Elvert Barnes
Suffolk County Police

Police unions on Long Island continue to urge the Democratic-controlled New York state Legislature to repeal new bail reform laws that they say are “soft on crime.” The complaints came after a Bellport man with a criminal record killed himself last week trying to escape police custody. 

William Farnum was arrested four times since July while on parole, but he was not returned to prison. Police chased Farnum to find him dead in his car with his throat slit. Then, they found the bodies of two relatives in his home.

Noel DiGerolamo heads the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association (PBA). He says Farnum should not have been a free man.

“I don’t think you can have a clearer failure and breakdown of our system.” DiGerolamo spoke alongside New York Congressman Lee Zeldin and local Republican lawmakers.

They say the elimination of cash bail and other criminal justice reform measures passed by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature is soft on crime. They condemned the state’s elimination of cash bail and other criminal justice reform measures. 

“Unfortunately their catch-and-release policy of law enforcement has failed again.”

Democrats criticized Republicans and the PBA for politizing a suicide.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.