Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is wrong for attacking cash bail reform in Harris County. Her attacks are made doubly worse by trying to enlist the help of police chiefs and officers to boost her attacks.
This blatant attempt at intimidation of advocates for reform, a federal judge and the Democratic members of the Harris County Commissioners Court won’t work.
Decriminalizing poverty is not a threat to public safety. DA Ogg’s arguments against the bail reform plan are nonsensical. She is essentially arguing that people, out on bail, will commit crimes, therefore, poor people should be denied bail while rich people, who can afford it, should be granted bail. That is the illegal and unconstitutional status quo that those of us for bail reform are trying to fix right now.
The only other way to reasonably understand DA Ogg’s claims is that though she says she supports bail reform, she is in reality, opposed to bail for all defendants. That, too, is illegal and unconstitutional.
It’s long past time to reform and fix the criminal justice system so that it stops destroying the Black and Brown community.
If Vince Ryan had stood up to the Republicans on Commissioners Court when he had the chance instead of wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money defending the criminalization of poverty, we would not have to now be treated to this sad spectacle being led by a Democratic DA.
The old mantra of law and order was both bad policy and immoral. It was used to criminalize and over-police Black and Brown communities. Its advocacy extends back to Bull Connor, J. Edgar Hoover and the war on crime that extended from Richard Nixon to Reagan until the opioid epidemic was declared a national medical emergency.
The attacks on cash bail reform by Kim Ogg and Vince Ryan are not progressive change. What we are witnessing is advocacy for the same old double standard where the police are called in to intimidate and oppress the poor.
Harris County is not Hong Kong right now or Alabama in the 1950’s.
Intimidation can’t stop the march towards progress for Black, Brown and poor people, in Harris County, who have to navigate our criminal justice system.
The moral arch of the universe bends towards justice and reforming the cash bail system in Harris County is a manifestation of justice.