In the alternate universe of the elites, too many people are locked up both before trial and after conviction. That is why a House Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing yesterday essentially advocating for lowering and abolishing bail. In the real world, as I’ve reported here over and over again, even many of the worst repeat violent offenders are released, often with atrocious consequences. The case of Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, is a sickening example of how the voices of victims are being drowned out.
On October 24, the UFC community was rocked by the news that Aniah Blanchard, the 19-year-old stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight star Walt Harris, was reported missing under suspicious circumstances after she was last seen at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama. After much public outpouring and investigating, police named Ibraheem Yazeed of Montgomery, Alabama, who was seen at the store with Blanchard, as a person of interest on November 7. He was captured by U.S. Marshals the following day in Escambia County, Florida, and held without bond on behalf of both Alabama and federal officials.
The charging affidavit cites a witness who saw Yazeed near the convenience store in Auburn “forcing Blanchard into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle.” It also cites that blood “indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury” was discovered in the passenger’s side of Aniah Blanchard’s vehicle, which was later tested and confirmed to be hers.
As awful as this story is, it’s even worse if Yazeed is proven to be the culprit, because he should never have been out on the streets. In January, Yazeed and a female suspect were arrested in Montgomery on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery, attempted murder, and possession of marijuana after he allegedly beat two elderly men. One victim was found “unconscious, unresponsive, severely injured and near death,” according to court records.
Yet he was released on $280,000 bond the very next day. It’s unclear whether he had to pay the entire sum or just 10 percent, but either way, someone like this should never have been released on bond after such charges and given his rap sheet. His record includes:
—A July 2017 arrest in Missouri for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing police, and drug charges. He wound up serving seven months in jail before trial, but was released on time served shortly after the disposition of the case.
—A 2015 felony drug conviction and a gun charge. There were multiple traffic and drug arrests that year, including fleeing from police, but according to the Montgomery Advertiser, he barely served time and wound up with six months of probation.
—A January 2012 attempted murder charge after authorities said he rammed his car into a Montgomery police car at a gas station when two deputies were exiting the vehicle.
—An April 2011 arrest on two counts of first-degree robbery.
The sad reality is that there are people like Yazeed all over the country who barely serve time in prison but are constantly engaging in violent crime. They wind up avoiding conviction due to endless loopholes and are let out on bond even after being charged with the worst crimes. Yet rather than pushing to close these loopholes, the bipartisan “abolish prison” movement keeps perpetuating the lie that too many people are locked up unjustly. No, too many people are victimized unjustly.
It took something like this for Yazeed to finally be held without bond. He was arraigned in Lee County court on Sunday following his extradition from Florida. There is a $105,000 reward for anyone with information about Blanchard, as family members still hope she is alive. The Auburn police chief indicated that more arrests are likely.
Unfortunately, extremely dangerous people arrested for high-level crimes are released every day, despite their massive rap sheets. Here’s another Florida case I’ve never written about. Yousuf Hasan, 25, of Orlando, Florida, is out on bail today, despite being charged with killing University of Central Florida student London Harrell in a vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk in June. After initially fleeing from police, Hasan confessed to the crime and apologized. Harrell was walking well within the grassy area of the campus when Hasan plowed into her. She died of her injuries several days later. Blood and hair were found on Hasan’s windshield that matched Harrell. According to WFTV, Highway Patrol said Hasan “had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech and was stumbling” and failed a sobriety test.
Upon his arrest, I’m sure the police and the local judge were aware of his massive rap sheet of dozens of charges dating back to 2010 – when Hasan was still a minor. Orange County, Florida, court records show Hasan had arrests for theft, shoplifting, trespassing, traffic violations, drugs, and numerous firearms violations. He barely served a night in jail. You would think he’d finally be held after this incident. But despite his record and despite being a member of the violent Nine Trey Gangster Bloods, he was initially released on $11,500 bond. After Harrell died several days later, bail was upped to $75,000, which he later posted. In September, he violated the terms of his release by tampering with his ankle bracelet, but the judge, in the growing reluctance to incarcerate criminals, refused to revoke his bail.
“His choices killed our daughter,” said Paula Cobb, Harrell’s mother. “He is a proven danger to our community with a deadly, violent drug- and gun-related past.”
Now, despite Hasan’s previous confession, he plead not guilty in court two weeks ago.
Who will be the voice for Aniah Blanchard and London Harrell and for the people every day who will die as a result of criminals released thanks to the cruel “compassion” of the political and legal elites? Just remember, the next time you hear the phrases “bail reform” or “criminal justice reform,” they mean bail elimination and jail elimination for people like Ibraheem Yazeed and Yousuf Hasan.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.