UPDATED: Greenberg, other politicians criticize Brown’s release to home incarceration on bail
Local activist and writer Quintez Brown, who is accused of shooting at a Democratic mayoral candidate in his campaign office Monday, is now incarcerated at home.
A number of Louisville media outlets posted video of Brown walking out of the downtown Hall of Justice around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Brown’s bail was set at $100,000 by District Court Judge Annette Karem on Tuesday, and local activists with the Louisville Community Bail Fund posted his bail Wednesday afternoon.
Brown will wear an ankle monitor while on home incarceration. He is banned from having a gun or contact with Craig Greenberg, the man he’s accused of trying to kill. Brown is not allowed to be near Greenberg’s home, his campaign office or any of his campaign staffers.
He faces one count of attempted murder and four counts of wanton endangerment.
In a statement Thursday morning, Greenberg said he believes the “criminal justice system is clearly broken.” And he said he, his family and campaign team “have been traumatized again by this news.”
“It is nearly impossible to believe that someone can attempt murder on Monday and walk out of jail on Wednesday,” he said. “If someone is struggling with a mental illness and is in custody, they should be evaluated and treated in custody. We must work together to fix this system.”
Police say Brown entered Butchertown Market, 1201 Story Ave., Monday morning and went up to Greenberg’s fourth-floor campaign office. While in the doorway to the office, Brown fired several shots directed at Greenberg, police say. Greenberg said he was holding a meeting at the time with four members of his staff. One was able to close the door on Brown, and the group barricaded themselves in with “desks and tables,” according to Greenberg.
Former state Rep. Charles Booker, a Democrat who is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul this year, said in a statement that Brown should not have been released.
“Anyone who has been arrested for attempted murder — and is feared to be a harm to themselves and others — should be in custody,” Booker said. “The sad reality of our cash bail system is that it puts a price tag on crime without sufficient considerations for safety. This often keeps innocent people behind bars because they do not have the funds.”
Booker said Brown, and all people who are accused of committing violent crimes, must face consequences for their actions.
Chanelle Helm, the co-founder of the Louisville Community Bail Fund and an organizer with Black Lives Matter Louisville, told WFPL News on Wednesday that the group decided to bail out Brown out of concern for his mental health. Brown’s lawyer, Rob Eggert, said Tuesday that he wants to have Brown’s mental status evaluated “immediately.”
The downtown Louisville jail, where Brown has been held since his arrest on Monday, has been the focus of public and official scrutiny for months. Six people have died there since late November.
Politicians react to Brown’s release on bail
Elected officials from Kentucky responded Thursday with outrage at Brown’s release from jail to home incarceration.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, said on the Senate floor that the development was “jaw-dropping.”
“Less than 48 hours after this activist tried to literally murder a politician, the radical left bailed their comrade out of jail,” McConnell said. “The innocent people of Louisville deserve better.”
Brown’s release also prompted more discussion over the issue of regulating charitable bail organizations like the Louisville Community Bail Fund. Last month, Kentucky lawmakers introduced House Bill 313, which would ban such groups from operating in the state.
State Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican representing parts of Louisville, criticized Brown’s release on Twitter.
“This is the last straw,” said Nemes, a co-sponsor of the bill. “Public safety demands passage of HB 313.”
Nemes plans to propose a constitutional amendment next week that would allow the courts to hold people without bail if they are a danger to the community, according to the Courier Journal.
Helm, with the Louisville Community Bail Fund, said the political rhetoric around Brown’s case is taking away from bail reform advocates’ overall message. She said people with high bails are released every day, but critics are using Brown’s background as an activist and his public political stances to exacerbate the situation.
“The reasons why we’re doing the work are being totally ignored, while they make it very much complicated to even get the work done,” she said. “So it’s been exhausting.”
The Courier Journal’s Ben Tobin reported on Thursday that Mayor Greg Fischer said cash bail can have a positive impact within the criminal justice system. Fischer also said Brown’s release was in accordance with current state statute.
“There’s a lot of different issues around cash bail,” Fischer said. “When people are in on low-level, nonviolent offenses and low bail, you’ve seen the really positive impact [of] cash bail. The Quintez Brown situation is very different. The bail levels are set by state law. And so an organization came and paid that. That’s currently legal to do that.”
This story was updated at 5:50 p.m.