Last week, the NYPD released surveillance footage showing a man sucker-punching another man so hard he fractured his skull and caused a brain bleed.
The victim was leaving the Fuego Tipico Restaurant in the Bronx on Friday, August 12 when a man put on a pair of gloves and punched him from behind, causing the victim to fall on the sidewalk and hit his head.
Police arrested Van Phu Bui, a 55-year-old lifetime parolee, and charged him with attempted murder.
But since this is New York City, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark downgraded Bui’s charges to misdemeanor assault and harassment, which under New York’s new bail reform law are no-bail violations.
So Bui walked out of jail.
Unsurprisingly, public outrage ensued over Bui’s release, with vocal critics of New York’s bail reform law attacking the state and the Bronx DA for releasing a man on lifetime parole back onto the streets after such a violent assault.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, who has campaigned largely on repealing the state’s ridiculous soft-on-crime policies, made hay over Bui’s release.
Bui was on lifetime parole after being convicted of first-degree sex abuse in 1995 for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 1994. He is registered as a Level 3 sex offender, the most serious designation.
A panic-stricken Kathy Hochul, fearful that a sex offender’s release from jail might harm her election chanced, intervened last week and ordered DA Clark to send Bui back to jail.
Meanwhile, his victim, 52-year-old Jesus Cortes remains in the hospital. He was initially placed in a medically-induced coma and ventilated, but over the weekend, doctors removed the ventilator and Cortes appears to be making progress.