NEW YORK — As the suspect arrested last week for the assassination attempt on two NYPD officers in the Bronx was arraigned Friday, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch blurred the lines between cop and citizen in a rally asking for the public’s support.
The subject of Robert Williams’ mental state after the loss of his son did little to change Lynch’s mind about there being little leniency for accused cop-killers.
“Many people – citizens, officers – deal with tragedy in their lives. Unfortunately, losing a child is the worst, I cannot imagine,” Lynch said. “But families deal with that, they don’t go out and try to assassinate police officers. It wasn’t the police officer’s fault there was a tragedy in his family… We say he should get that treatment; he should get that treatment from the criminal justice system. He should get that treatment, but behind bars.”
Williams was charged at Bronx County Hall of Justice with attempted murder of a police officer Friday morning after he allegedly shot up the Bronx’s 41st Precinct stationhouse on Feb. 8. He’s also accused of turning the gun on a lieutenant on Sunday morning.
“We will sit in those pews and make sure that as citizens that wear blue, that we want to see justice,” Lynch said.
According to NYPD Commissioner Dermott Shea, who briefed reporters earlier in the week as well as published reports, Williams entered the Longwood Avenue headquarters just before 8 a.m. on Feb. 8 and began spraying gunfire at officers at the front desk. The suspect even walked up to the desk to continue firing the pistol.
After attacking the lieutenant, the officer returned fire but did not hit Williams. Other officers assisted and Williams allegedly surrendered once he was out of bullets, Shea said.
But this was not Williams’ first brush with the law: in 2002 he had been convicted of attempted murder for a 2002 incident in which he shot someone, carjacked a woman and had a firefight with police. He was back out on the street in 2017 when he was paroled.
Lynch alluded to the new bail reform laws as a reason for recent bouts of violent crime and placed blame on politicians who he said have not been supportive of officers in this case.
Although bail reform was enacted on Jan. 1, and lawmakers in Albany are already opening discussions to reform the reforms, which bans cash bail for non-violent crimes and misdemeanors.
“Disregard the fact that the criminal justice system is spitting criminals back out on the street, that’s for [legislators] to work out,” Lynch continued. “The politicians need to listen to the officers on the street – the citizens saying ‘we can’t stand for this, it’s getting more dangerous.’ But we ask the public to not listen to that noise, you know evil… if there’s guns on the street, call us. We want to help save your life, and quite frankly, help save our lives as well.”
Now the proposal from the state Senate Democratic Majority in Albany is calling for a total ban on cash bail, but giving judges more discretion on whether a suspect should be held and for how long.