FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 4, 2020
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ICYMI: FAR RIGHT EXTREMISTS AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS RUN WILD IN NYS GOP-RUN FACEBOOK GROUP DEVOTED TO UNDERMINING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Comments Incite Violence and Extreme Behavior Towards Supporters of Bail Reform
NEW YORK — A Facebook group created to rally opponents of bail reform has recently caught the attention of extremist groups promoting violence toward those in favor of the new law. The “Repeal Bail Reform” online community’s 160,000 members include moderators State Republican Party Political Director James Thompson, Erie County GOP Chair Jesse Prieto and Assembly Minority Director of Conference Press Operations Nick Wilock.
The Facebook group was created in early January 2020 by Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy, initially as a platform to share news stories about the new bail reform law. City & State reported that it has recently grown into a forum that harbors negative commentary towards those that are in favor the new laws, as well as Muslims, Democrats, and immigrants. Some posts even exhibit open affiliations with white supremacy.
“This is bigger than partisan discourse—this group is allowing comments that invoke white supremacist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim rhetoric,” said Khalil A. Cumberbatch, chief strategist for New Yorkers United for Justice. “While we are open to and encourage public debate of this issue, there is no place in New York’s political sphere and social reality for hatred. The moderators, who serve in Republican leadership roles across the state, must denounce these extremist views and actions, and call for the civil discourse this issue deserves otherwise they are complicit.”
New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) continues its campaign to educate the public and to advocate for bail and other pretrial reforms. Most recently, Cumberbatch appeared in a Now This video dispelling myths around the new bail reform spread by opponents, including Republicans in the state Senate. NYUJ also recently launched new ads featuring Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez who implemented similar criminal justice reforms in 2017.