The Rochester man who served time for shooting a Rochester police officer back in 2009 is being released from jail on a drug charge as part of the new bail reform laws.
Tyquan Rivera was 14 when he shot Officer Anthony DiPonzio on Dayton Street in Rochester. He served seven years for the shooting.
There will be conditions for Rivera's release, including electronic monitoring. Rivera is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance. He's accused of selling fentanyl to undercover police officers in August.
Bail was set at the time of his arrest, but according to the district attorney's office, the charges are no longer qualifying offenses because of the new laws and the judge is required to release him.
“It was a fair decision, and Mr. Rivera and I are pleased with the decision," Rivera's attorney, Jim Napier, said. “It was not a crime of violence, it was not a Class A felony. So therefore Mr. Rivera had to be released.”
But given Rivera's history, local law enforcement officials are sounding off against the release, saying it exposes flaws within the new reforms.
“Today we have a man who shot a police officer in the head, and was arrested for selling fentanyl which is killing people every day in our streets," Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan said. "We have that person released without bail, because apparently that’s not a violent crime.”
And he’s not alone. Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode says he’s also concerned.
“We knew this day was going to happen, and we would just ask that our representatives take a look at this and think it through," VanBrederode said. "These aren’t just petty crimes that we’re letting people out on.”
Phelan is president of the New York State Association of Police Chiefs, and says they all agree bail reform was needed, but more structure is needed in the law. He fears what this could mean for communities across the state if nothing is changed.
“We’re going to keep seeing them every day and unfortunately, ultimately someone is going to get hurt as a result of this, or killed, and that’s pretty unfortunate.” Phelan said.