A Florida convict who was released from jail on account of the coronavirus epidemic went on to shoot and kill a man the very next day.
Joseph Williams was freed from jail on March 19th, having been in pretrial confinement and unable to afford bail. Last week, he was arrested for a shooting murder that took place on March 20th in Tampa.
Williams had already been in the Orient Road Jail on charges of heroin possession and drug paraphernalia. He’s now facing charges of second-degree murder, possessing a weapon as a felon, and resisting arrest.
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister stated that there is “no question Joseph Williams took advantage of this health emergency to commit crimes while he was out of jail awaiting resolution of a low-level, non-violent offense.”
Yet there are serious questions why Williams, who appears to be a career criminal with an arrest track record of 35 different criminal charges, was even let out of jail to begin with. He has two felony convictions and five misdemeanor convictions.
Chronister admitted the Sheriff’s Department didn’t properly vet Williams’ criminal track record before letting the felon out of jail, stating that “we didn’t go back at the time and look at people’s criminal history” when preparing to release 100 jail inmates on coronavirus jailbreak.
Williams is back in jail, and is being held without bond after his first court appearance on Monday.
If authorities want to be taken seriously as guardians of public safety during the coronavirus epidemic, the last thing they should be doing is releasing veritably dangerous criminals from jail.
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg Pays $16 Million in Fines of Black and Hispanic Felons to Enable Them to Vote
Billionaire and former New York City Mayor has raised $16 million dollars to pay off outstanding fines of Black and Hispanic felons in Florida, according to reporting from Axios on Tuesday. Florida restricts the voting rights of convicted criminals until they’ve paid off fines levied for their crimes by the criminal justice system.
It appears that Bloomberg’s fine repayment initative was only available to Black and Hispanic felons. Axios reported that to qualify for Bloomberg’s money, applicants had to have outstanding fines of less than $1,500, be already registered to vote, and to be Black or Latino.
White felons need not apply.
The program has reportedly already cleared the fines of 32,000 felons in the state, enabling them to vote in the election. It erases the punitive aspect of the court system’s fines, which were levied in the first place in order to require convicted criminals to personally make amends for their actions.
Bloomberg’s felon bailout giveaway is legally questionable, and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has requested that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody investigate what he’s doing. If he’s paying felons to vote for any one specific candidate, Bloomberg is in violation of campaign finance rules and could be liable to serve jail time .
#BREAKING: I'm calling on the Florida Attorney General to launch an investigation into @MikeBloomberg for potentially engaging in bribery and vote buying in the state of Florida. pic.twitter.com/2pAjZlAwSh
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 22, 2020
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” said a Bloomberg spokesperson when asked about the fine repayment initiative. But it doesn’t seem as if the failed Democratic primary candidate is willing to buy back the voting rights of individuals who might be less inclined to vote for Joe Biden in November.
Bloomberg already tried and failed to buy the nomination in the Democratic primary, and now he’s trying to buy the crucial swing state of Florida for Joe Biden. Corrupt oligarchs should not be allowed to abuse the political system with impunity.
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