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Heastie reacts to increased penalties for assaulting retail workers being included state budget

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said he supports tougher penalties for assaulting retail workers, although he said he doesn’t believe the measure would deter crime.

Mr. Heastie, who sparked outrage by refusing to crack down on violent shoplifters, came after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that criminal penalties would be included in the state budget for thugs who attack retail workers. I finally agreed to strengthen it.

“There’s a bigger situation going on here. People feel like they want harsher penalties for the actions they’ve taken, and that’s OK,” Heastie told reporters Tuesday. Ta.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said he has “no problem” including increased penalties for those who assault retail workers in the state budget. robert miller

The reversal comes as Mr Heastie and lawmakers generally face pressure to address rising violent crime.

Heastie, who was instrumental in pushing for changes to the state’s bail law in 2019, told reporters earlier this year that criminal penalty changes were not on the table in budget talks.

Mr. Heastie reiterated his long-standing position that stronger criminal penalties alone do not deter crime.

“My focus is on stopping crime rather than responding to it after it happens,” Heastie said. “I hope that one day we will live in a world where we try to stop crime, instead of just thinking about what happens after it happens.”

Bronx police say other parts of the policy, particularly a new tax credit that allows small retailers to be reimbursed for the cost of upgrading security equipment, will help store owners combat the ongoing wave of thefts. He said he believed it.

NY Post cover featuring Carl Heastie as Mr. Softee
Retail workers in Mr. Heastie’s own Bronx Assembly District have criticized his stance on crime.

According to conversations with people familiar with the talks and the governor’s announcement Monday, the retail theft package is expected to include:

-Strengthening penalties for assaulting retail employees

-Tax credits to help bodegas and other small retailers upgrade security technology

-Allows authorities to combine the value of stolen goods across different stores to issue higher charges

– $40 million in funding to help state police and district attorneys target organized retail theft rings.

“I advocated for stronger penalties for those who assault retail employees. I did it,” Hochul boasted on Monday.

Retail workers have accused Mr Heastie of past comments about retail assaults. Republican lawmakers have held press conferences in recent weeks to criticize the speaker’s lack of action on crime.