NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea’s wise warning on ‘compassionate’ coronavirus prison releases

“We still need to keep violent criminals in jail,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea warned this week on “Good Day New York.” Seems a no-brainer — but not for the city’s legal-aid community.

In the coronavirus crisis, jail and prison crowding endangers those held as well as correction officers and other staff. So let the truly medically fragile and nonviolent detainees in high-risk categories be set free from the confines of Rikers Island.

Yet even the 1,500 releases so far aren’t enough for groups such as the Bronx Defenders and the Legal Aid Society. They’d put even depraved predators back on city streets. To the “Close Rikers, No Jails” set, COVID-19 is just a pretext for realizing their longstanding agenda: no one in jail, period.

Last week, for example, the Bronx Defenders pressed Justice Martin Marcus to release Victor Mateo, who is accused of running over his estranged wife with a car and then hacking her to death with a machete in front of her two grandchildren on a Bronx street last October.

They also wanted the judge to cut loose alleged car thief Ronnie Cole, who’s accused of holding a gun against a police officer’s chest and snarling, “I have a gun, f - - king die” when he was caught trying to steal a BMW last year.

Happily, Mateo and Cole remain behind bars — though Marcus released others charged with violent offenses.

Shea has cited a man released despite being locked up for setting his girlfriend’s apartment door ablaze, and who threatened the woman after he was cut loose.

No COVID-19 releases for accused cop-killers, domestic-violence perps, gang-involved drug dealers and the like: Don’t make the streets even more unsafe.

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