City Council to examine bail practices in gun possession cases

A resolution passed City Council today authorizing the Committee on Public Safety to hold public hearings examining bail practices in gun possession cases.

“When someone tries to show you they are violent, believe them the first time,” sponsor Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.said this afternoon. “If you have an illegal gun and are caught with it, then let go and you do something violent, it’s our fault.”

Jones Jr. said last week that the resolution was in part inspired by the slaying of Reyna Aguirre-Alonso, a Kensington store clerk executed Jan. 23, allegedly in retaliation for her part as a cooperating witness in a November homicide. Police arrested four people for her murder, including Jorge Aldea, who police also charged with the November homicide and said was the mastermind behind Alonso’s death. Aldea was out on bail after being arrested for firearms violations Jan. 11, less than two weeks before the slaying.

Jones Jr. said the hearings will look at the judiciary system in Philadelphia that lets these kind of violent criminals slip through the cracks.

“We want to look at the correlation between slap-on-the-wrist releases and offenders going on to commit more violent acts,” he said. “Hopefully, the first thing we’ll do is get the attention of the people doing the bail. … We will prevail upon them to, as the young men say, step up their game.”

Jones Jr. said something is clearly wrong in Philadelphia when the gun policies are compared to those in surrounding counties. “If you’re caught with a gun in Montgomery County, you go to jail. If you’re caught with a gun in Bucks County, you go to jail,” he said. “If you’re caught with a gun in Philadelphia, you should go to jail.”

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