Montgomery leaders call on judicial system to help tackle gun violence

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:02 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery leaders are calling on the judicial system to help them solve a problem that’s getting worse: gun-related crime.

Between Sunday and Tuesday there were five homicides in the city. Three of those murders took place on Sunday alone.

“We are still continuing to see far too many shootings in our city,” said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. “Far too many of them are perpetrated by people who know one another.”

On Sunday, police and fire medics responded to four separate shootings that resulted in the death of four people.

Those four shootings, along with a fatal Montgomery house fire turned homicide investigation Tuesday, bumped the city’s homicide total for the year to 69, surpassing last year’s homicide total of 68.

“One life lost is certainly one too many,” Reed said.

During Reed’s speech at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, he said the Montgomery Police Department is not to blame for the uptick in violent crime.

“We got to make sure we got the full participation and the full partnership of our Judicial Branch in this community, and that’s not happening right now,” Reed said.

“When the men and women of the Montgomery Police Department are re-arresting the same people over and over again, that’s a problem,” Reed went on to say.

Reed and Interim Police Chief Romana Harris said they need help from the judicial system. They said too often criminals are bailing out of jail and being put back out on the streets.

“When a bond for murder is set at $150,000, but someone arrested for drugs has a bond set at $200,000, that’s a problem to me,” Reed said.

“We would like to see them being released less,” Harris said. “$150,000 I don’t think is a suitable amount, even with due process, because we’ve had situations where we’ve seen those that are out on bond for murder that are now committing new murders while they’re out on bond.”

City leaders said they need the judges in the community to do their part to ensure repeat offenders are not making their way back into neighborhoods.

“We need the judges to make sure that they’re following through, and if you have people who are repeat offenders you cannot let them out with these low bails. You have got to send a message,” Reed said.

But it’s not just help from judges the city needs. Harris said it’s going to take everyone.

“Put the guns down. Stop the shooting. There are other ways to resolve conflict within the city. And if it’s family members that know of those that are involved, we definitely encourage the family members to step up,” Harris said.

Of the murders that took place Sunday, two arrests have been made so far.

Reed commended the police department for the work they are doing. The department currently reports a 77% solvability rate of murder investigations this year.

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