A Jersey City man that instigated “a life and death fight” with Hoboken cops was only in jail for five days, partially due to bail reform and partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Lonnie Clark, 38, of Jersey City, disarmed a Hoboken cop back on April 10th and led to three officers being injured. By April 15th, he was already released from the Hudson County Correctional Facility, Ferrante said during Wednesday’s remote council meeting.
“It was a life and death fight with this individual. The individual grabbed a hold of Officer Barral’s gun, taking it out of his holster, as three officers basically fought for their lives,” Ferrante explained.
No one besides Barral, who will be out for “several weeks” with a bad hand injury, was hurt during the incident.
Despite facing a slew of charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer, Clark was placed on what a judge called “intense supervision,” according to Ferrante.
“Those officers had every right to use deadly force that night and they showed the restraint to not do that. Sadly, with criminal justice reform court and the clearing of jails right now because of COVID-19, Lonnie Clark was ordered released from jail today,” the police chief revealed.
“So, when the county prosecutor advised me of that, definitely it was against the prosecutor’s office’s wishes, but it was a judge’s determination that he be on intense supervision and on a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night. That’s scary for what law enforcement’s dealing with, this is a danger to the public and he’s back out on the streets tonight.”
Last month, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that certain low-level offenders would be released from county jails to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.