AUGUSTA, Ga. – We just lost another brother. On Tuesday night, a Richmond County deputy was shot and killed. Here’s what we know so far.
He was narcotics investigator Cecil Ridley.
Our hearts are with the family, blood & blue, of Investigator Cecil Ridley who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We thank you for your service and will continue to pray for your family, friends, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. #LODD 🖤💙🖤 pic.twitter.com/MSxVS54obe
— GA Bureau of Invest (@GBI_GA) November 20, 2019
He was shot and killed at 12th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Augusta, according to sheriff’s office Sgt. William McCarty.
We're following the latest developments in the shooting death of @RCSOGA narcotics investigator Cecil Ridley (left). He was killed Tuesday night in the line of duty. This is a photo of happier times when Sheriff Richard Roundtree presented a public service award to Ridley. #RIP pic.twitter.com/ACcJOufg1F
— Monique Williams (@MoniqueWRDW) November 20, 2019
He was working a beat that was part of a new “proactive patrol to curb gun violence” said McCarty. That initiative had just started last week.
Rest In Peace: Investigator Cecil Ridley. Richmond County Sheriff's Office, Georgia. End of Watch Tuesday November 19, 2019. @RCSOGA, @GBI_GA, @PoliceOne,#BlueLivesMatter,@ODMP,#OfficerDown,#lodd pic.twitter.com/WslmS8Ci0Q
— R Cook (@retiredNCSHP) November 20, 2019
McCarty said although it’s unclear what led up to the shooting, at some point, Ridley encountered a suspect and gunfire was exchanged.
The suspect was also shot. He was rushed to Augusta University Medical Center, and his condition is unknown.
So far in 2019, Georgia has lost seven officers.
Ridley’s death marks the the 108th officer killed in the line of duty this year.
He was only 51-years-old and lived in Augusta. According to the department, he received an award in 2018 for five years of service.
In the meantime in Brooklyn, New York, a man convicted of shooting a police officer was picked up on new drugs and gun charges. Then a judge let him walk out of jail for a measly $5,000.
Bail can be a tricky and sometimes controversial subject when pertaining to the notion of innocent until proven guilty. How bail is determined, what the set amount is, or whether someone is even going to be considered for bail can all get pretty murky.
In this case stemming from Brooklyn, New York, it seems like the judge erred on a more controversial decision with regard to bail, and its amount as well, when hearing the most recent case that involved a man convicted of shooting a police officer in the past.
A Brooklyn man by the name of Stathos Hugunnie, who back in 1997 had opened fire on an NYPD officer, was arrested again last week with a stash of guns and illegal drugs.
So naturally, one would expect that a convicted criminal who shot at police would face a pretty strict punishment after being caught with a gun and drugs.
But instead of being held, a judge let this suspect walk out of jail for a measly $5,000.
And now cops are furious.
One unnamed Queens police officer had spoken to a local news outlet regarding the decision to release the convicted attempted-murderer on such a miniscule amount of bail.
“What was this judge thinking? Stathos was arrested with three guns in the same projects where he tried to kill a cop. He shouldn’t [even] be released on $500,000 bail — obviously jail didn’t rehabilitate him.”
Hugunnie, then 21-years-old at the time of his initial crime, had fired several shots at officer Peter Bueti back in April 1997. The attempt on Bueti’s life had happened after police had showed up at the door of his girlfriend’s apartment in the Queensbridge houses in Long Island City, according to authorities.
At the time, police were looking into Hugunnie as he was wanted in connection with a double stabbing on the roof of the same NYCHA housing complex. When police stumbled upon his at his then-girlfriend’s home, Hugunnie fired eight shots at Bueti in a desperate bid to evade arrest, with three of those rounds striking the officer in the chest, the New York Times reported. Luckily, the officer, who was standing in the hallway at the time of the shooting, was saved by his bulletproof vest, as reported by officials at the time.
Once Hugunnie was taken into custody following the shooting of Offcer Bueti, he was subsequently charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal weapons possession and criminal use of a firearm. The attempted murder wound up getting Hugunnie thrown into prison for two decades, but as of 2017, he’s been a free man.
“What was this judge thinking?” The Post of career criminal Stathos Hugunnie. “Stathos was arrested with three guns in the same projects where he tried to kill a cop. He shouldn’t [even] be released on $500,000 bail Obviously jail didn’t rehabilitate him.https://t.co/gzxwluzq42
— Maria Bonanno (@MariaBonanno9) November 17, 2019
On November 7 at 6:00 a.m., detectives from Queens North had carried out a search warrant and found the would-be cop killer in another apartment in the Queensbridge Houses, playing host to firearms, a plethora of ammunition, and grams of both heroin and crack cocaine, police said.
He was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance, and later released on $5,000 bail. The apartment where Hugunnie, now 43, was storing his stash belonged to his current girlfriend, Tywaneeka Norville, who was also arrested, sources said.
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch in a statement said the following in a statement regarding the arrest and release of Hugunnie.
“Cops will continue to lock up perps like Hugunnie whenever they get caught with guns, but it will make no difference. Soon, they will be walking out the door before the ink on the arrest report is dry. New Yorkers, this is your future, and the worst is still to come. The appalling and disturbing decisions that have now twice put a vicious cop-shooter back on our streets are not outliers — they are what our elected leaders have chosen.”
The New York bail system has continuously come under fire recently.
Just two weeks ago, Musa Williams of Maryland was arrested on a fugitive warrant for leaving the city after being charged with criminal mischief in September. However, a judge ordered Williams released without bail.
A mere two days later, Williams decided to attack a Port Authority police officer, resulting in serious injuries to the officer, including a broken nose and lacerated eyeball. The attack occurred at the Midtown bus stop.
Williams was charged with assault and was held on $5,000 bail. However, that did not sit well with the president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.
“What was Judge Tsai’s logic, setting bail at $5,000, on a thug who brutally attacked a Port Authority police officer?” President Paul Nunziato said.
Nunziato praised the officer, identified as Richard Mills, for his training and ability to defend himself.
“Thankfully we will not be attending another police officer’s funeral,” he continued.
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Williams, a career criminal, has a lengthy record in Maryland. He was originally arrested on August 7 on felony criminal mischief charges relative to vandalism to two ticket machines and several credit card readers, making them inoperable.
Judge Laurie Peterson ignored the request of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for a $10,000 bail, instead opting for release without bail. Peterson has a history of releasing dangerous criminals, so this was par for the course.
“What was Judge Tsai’s logic, setting bail at $5,000, on a thug who brutally attacked a Port Authority police officer?" Nunziato asked Tuesday. “Officer Mills is highly trained and was able to defend himself. Thankfully we will not be attending another police officer’s funeral."
— Gregory W. Chupa (@gregory_chupa) November 6, 2019
In 2016, Peterson, a former Legal Aid supervising attorney, released one Karl Bazemore from custody without bail. His crime? An unprovoked attack on an innocent woman walking with her husband. The District Attorney surprisingly only asked for a $1000 bail. Peterson decided he was a worthy candidate for no bail, despite a lengthy criminal record of 31 arrests dating back to 1979.
For her part, Peterson also ignored the fact that Bazemore was deemed a flight risk with “high” probability and the fact that he had previously missed several court dates. In fact the New York Criminal Justice Agency, which vets all defendants prior to arraignment, determined that he was “not recommended” to be released without bail.
Less than 24 hours later, Bazemore took a box-cutter and slashed the face of 24-year-old Amanda Morris, who required seven stitches to close the wound. To add injury to insult, he is suspected in seven other similar attacks since September.
In justifying Bazemore’s release, Peterson bought into the defense attorney’s claim that Bazemore was “an artist with strong community ties.”
Attacks on police officers have escalated in the Big Apple as criminals have grown more brazen given anti-police rhetoric nationwide and among Democrat presidential candidates, including former candidate and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In a high profile incident this past July, NYPD officers were doused with buckets of water while onlookers watched. The officers, no doubt aware of the anti-police sentiment permeating Gracie Mansion, did nothing. While de Blasio “condemned” the incident, police blamed the “political climate” for the incident.
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