(VitalNews.org) – A Manhattan judge has allowed Deqon Massiah, 22, to be released from jail just one day after he was arrested for behaving menacingly with a knife in Times Square. Despite being charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, and harassment, all of which are charges deemed unsuitable for bail, prosecutors recommended the man be let out of jail under supervised release.
Photographer Richard Moore became concerned about Massiah’s behavior on Wednesday, July 12 when he witnessed the man standing on a bench and screaming at people while clearly holding a knife. He soon began to follow a group of musicians who were performing for the public. Moore photographed Massiah placing his left hand on the shoulder of one musician while holding his six-inch knife in his right hand, which he kept by his side. Once Moore had taken this photograph, he called 911. Police arrived within 12 minutes and quickly arrested Massiah.
According to prosecutors, Massiah swore at the police and demanded they let him go, telling them that “they were coming after us”. It is not clear who Massiah was referring to in this statement. While Massiah has no criminal history in the state of New York, he is on probation in the state of Georgia for a sex offender case. The judge who agreed to release him said that he needed as high a level of supervision as possible.
The case comes amidst a growing sense of fear on the streets of New York. Siena College recently released the results of the poll they conducted on crime and people’s perceptions of crime in the city. The results show that many people have been victimized, with 1 in 10 saying they had been assaulted or burgled, and over a third had felt threatened by the behavior of a stranger.
When asked about feelings of safety, 41% admitted that they had never felt as afraid for their safety, with many people taking matters into their own hands and investing in self-defense measures, including purchasing firearms and lessons in how to use them. New York Mayor Eric Adams has been dismissive of the poll results, blaming negative media attention for people’s concerns.
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