Defendants in Det. Brian Simonsen's death were on list of inmates for potential release: DA

Men indicted on murder charges in death of NYPD detective hit by ‘friendly fire’: DA
Posted at 5:20 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 17:20:23-04

QUEENS — The suspects charged in connection with the Queens friendly-fire death of an NYPD detective were on the list of inmates being considered for release to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, a spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Christopher Ransom and Jagger Freeman were both indicted on murder charges in the February 2019 death of Detective Brian Simonsen and injury of Sgt. Matthew Gorman. District Attorney Melinda Katz's office objected to their names on a list of inmates provided by the city and the men's names were removed, a spokesperson said.

An official with Mayor Bill de Blasio's office disputed the statement from the Queens District Attorney's Office. According to the official, Ransom and Freeman were never considered for release.

New York City has released 900 inmates to avoid the risk of COVID-19 spreading in city jails. Those released include low-risk inmates and inmates at increased risk of vulnerability to COVID-19. The Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice put together a list of names for review by the offices of borough district attorneys.

After hearing the report, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said "whoever floated these names in the first place should be fired."

“It is a complete slap in the face that these killers would be considered for freedom while police officers and EMTs are putting our lives on the line in the middle of a crisis," he said.

Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, Queens DA Melinda Katz, Richmond County DA Michael McMahon, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan noted concerns about some of the names they were given by the city in a letter to de Blasio and the Department of Correction.

"We want to make clear that the categories of those proposed for release have, in some instances, included individuals who pose a high risk to public safety," they wrote. "In such instances, we have communicated our concerns, but these concerns have not always been heeded. As an example, when we learned last week that the Commissioner of Corrections was about to use her authority to order an across-the-board release of hundreds of inmates serving city sentences, we were assured that the release would not include those serving time for domestic violence or sex offenses, given the risks to victims. Unfortunately, we later learned that such individuals were indeed included in the ranks of those to be released."