City officials began taking steps Monday for Rikers Island to become a public space by 2026 — synchronizing with the Mayor’s borough based jail plan that would leave the island vacant in the same year.
A uniform land use review procedure was filed on Dec. 2 that would reclassify the Bronx island as a public space, rather than a jail facility, according to a statement from City Hall.
The ULURP at hand will “officially prohibit the incarceration of individuals there after Dec. 31, 2026,” though it doesn’t address what the future holds for Rikers Island.
“The proposed mapping action does not lead to any new development or construction on its own,” that statement noted, adding that any future plans – such as housing development, green energy facilities or the prospect of expanding LaGuardia Airport —will require a new planning and public review process, including a separate approval for and environmental review.
The announcement came after the city began the procedure of closing facilities on Rikers Island along with the Brooklyn Detention Center in preparation for the new and upcoming jail plan.
“We are moving away from the failed policies of mass incarceration and showing the world that Rikers days are numbered,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, adding that the remapping of Rikers “shows our deep commitment to closing” all of the jails there.
De Blasio reiterated Johnson’s sentiment: “We’re charting a new course forward for the island and the people of New York City.”
Police are searching for a suspected murderer who was mistakenly released from Rikers Island because of a paperwork error.
Christopher Buggs, 26, was awaiting trial in a 2018 murder when he was released on an unrelated case.
In the unrelated case, he was sentenced to 30 days of time served for criminal contempt.
He’s accused of killing 55-year-old Ernest Brownlee outside a bodega in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Brownlee was apparently a career criminal who killed two men in the 1980s.
The Correction Department says it is conducting a full investigation into how Buggs was released.
“We are aware of this incident and a full investigation into how this happened is underway. Right now we are working with our law enforcement partners to return this individual to custody,” Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Peter Thorne said.
“This is being fully investigated right now. We are going to put additional safeguards in place to make sure this never happens again. it’s very frustrating. It was based on a court order, but it was apparently one case that this inmate had connected to him, but there were other charges obviously as well that should have meant he remained incarcerated. So we are going to get a full review of this immediately, make whatever changes we have to. In the meantime, we have a high level of confidence that he will be re-apprehended shortly,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The Blaz has such a talent with words. Might say he has the best words. The way he stretches this statement to avoid literally saying murder would make Mr. Fantastic lose all his limbs. It’s like Da Mayor managed to finagle all that yoga exercise he did (feigned) at the Park Slope Y into another verbal skill set to evade accountability and embarrassment. It’s a wonder what the case the fugitive was being arraigned for, but the Blaz has this phobia about transparency that the press can’t even inform the public what it is, although the reporter might have a phobia about follow up questions.
There should be no doubt about what de Blasio and Cojo and the Council Cronies intentions for Rikers Island are now. This public space designation is not for the public, like a place to go picnicking or an arts and crafts festival, its a front for a land grab in the near future and the city is willing to sacrifice the safety and lives of it’s citizens in order to justify demolishing Rikers. Even as the city has seen a rise in felony crimes in the last 2 years, notably shootings, stabbings and slashings and murder. This is also in concert with the coming city approved 4 tower jails in 4 boroughs, which has been preemptively been rejected by all communities where they will placed and New York State’s dreadfully mistaken bail reform legislation that exempted over a hundred serious felonious crimes from bail consideration.
The Blaz, the idiot that he is, characteristically laid all the cards out on the table now for Rikers closing as well as his and the collective disconnect of everyone involved in the delusional mission to shut down the island. It shouldn’t be hard for the next mayor to immediately put the kibosh on this and work on an expansive reform plan to make the prisons somewhat of a safe haven instead of spreading the criminality culture already present in prisons to four different residential areas.
But never mind all that, there is an actual fugitive who was charged with things that should have kept him incarcerated on the loose. Best be aware of your spaces that you will happen to be around at a certain time and place.