Arrest of Feces-Smearing Felon Prompts Calls For Bail Reform From Adams

A felon arrested for a vile subway attack, accused of smearing human feces on a woman sitting on a bench, was released without bail on Wednesday, which sparked new calls for bail reform in New York City from Mayor Eric Adams.

Adams said, "This individual should not be out on the streets of New York and his release shows the scope of changes that we need to make in order to keep New Yorkers safe. It is the result of a failed mental health system, a failed housing and support system, and failing criminal justice laws that allow someone with a history of violence who poses a clear threat to public safety to just walk out of court."

In recent years, bail reform has come under fire numerous times after there have been several instances of criminals being released without bail, only to commit worse crimes in the city after release, according to The City.

Under changes that took place in 2019, cash bail is prohibited for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies in New York City. For 37-year-old Frank Abrokwa, who was arrested on February 28, 2022, for smearing his own feces on a woman in the subway a week before, the bail reform includes him.

After being arraigned for the feces incident on Wednesday, police turned Abrokwa over to detectives in the Hate Crime Division for an unrelated hate crime that took place in Brooklyn last fall, and he was released yet without bail.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) provided Abrokwa's arrest information with Newsweek, stating that he has been arrested a total of 20 times, including the last two arrests this week. According to the NYPD, Abrokwa has been arrested for "Robbery, Assault, Forcible Touching, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Criminal Sale of Controlled Substance, Aggravated Harassment, Obstructing Governmental Administration, Theft of Service."

Abrokwa also has a history of transit-related crimes including two other assaults: one on January 7, when he allegedly punched a man on a subway platform, and another on February 5, where he allegedly punched a man at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to ABC7 New York.

Adams released a recent statement that called the city's bail reform back into question and signaled that the city is attempting to move backward in its progressive bail reform.

"We can't allow this horrific situation to be the status quo," Adams added, "and must make changes to our laws to both prevent these sort of attacks, through intervention and support, and, when they happen, to subsequently keep people who are clearly a danger to others off the street."

The NYPD also released crime reports for the month of January in 2022 and found that New York City saw a 38.5 percent increase in overall index crime compared to January of last year.

Last month, Adams called on Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature to reconsider bail reform and other criminal-justice reforms, but changes have yet to be made.

Carl Hamad-Lipscombe, Executive Director for the Envision Freedom Fund, an organization that works to end money bail and pretrial detention in New York City, told Newsweek, "The mayor has made clear that his solution to issues of mental health, and inadequate housing is to expand incarceration, despite troves of research showing that pretrial detention doesn't increase safety. If the mayor spent one day in court he'd realize that judges frequently exercise their discretion to jail thousands of people."

Hamad-Lipscombe added, "Indeed, the problem isn't that we are jailing too few people. The problem is that jailing people is the only thing we're doing, even though it doesn't work. Long term investment in community is what's needed, not more incarceration."

Rally Held In New York's Chinatown Protesting
New calls for bail reform from NYC Mayor Eric Adams were heard after a man who attacked a woman in the subway with his own feces was released without bail. In this photo, an NYPD vehicle is parked in front of the building where Christina Yuna Lee lived as people take photos on February 14, 2022, in the Chinatown neighborhood in New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images