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A couple of building-service workers at a luxury development on Manhattan's West Side have been criticized for their lack of response to the brutal beating of a 65-year-old Asian woman by a crazed man shouting ethnic slurs as he knocked her to the ground and then kicked her repeatedly.
It's true that the workers neither tried to intercede nor called 911, venturing out of the building and flagging down a police car only after the assailant had fled.
But aside from the man who administered the beating, the brunt of the blame should be placed on the Division of Parole employees who opted to release Brandon Elliott in 2019 after he had served just 16 years in state prison for stabbing to death his mother in 2002.
Mr. Elliot, who committed the crime in front of his then-5-year-old sister, had been sentenced to 15-years-to-life behind bars after being convicted of second-degree murder. Given the nature of his crime, it's inexplicable to us that parole officials could have turned him loose so early in his term.
Put aside for a moment the level of mental illness that has to afflict someone that they would kill their own mother absent extraordinary mitigating circumstances. If we're a society in which life is truly valued, then how could the killing of someone not warrant a far-longer term than Mr. Elliot, who is only 38, wound up serving?
The police unions have complained in recent years about parole officials readily freeing cop-killers, most of whom neither expressed remorse for their crimes nor showed much sign of rehabilitation. Those who frame such decisions in ideological terms to justify the releases are showing poor judgment: there is nothing progressive about granting early freedom to those who have taken life in cases that strike at the heart of our society.
Mr. Elliot's victim survived the savage assault, but she will have to recover not only from physical injuries but the emotional trauma of being treated as if she didn't deserve to live.
The assault charges brought against Mr. Elliot include hate-crime designations that could subject him to 25 years in prison. But that shouldn't be the final sentence he receives. He was released on a condition of lifetime parole, meaning any violation could have put him back behind bars for an indefinite period. He should now be given a true life sentence, with no chance of future parole, as someone who murdered once and stopped just short of doing it again.
Beyond that, while Governor Cuomo is currently running a few quarts low on moral authority, it is time for him to deliver a stern message to the Division of Parole and all those who work for it. Whatever leniency officials might be inclined to show towards those who have committed lesser crimes, any mercy they show towards those who kill should be rare, and dispensed only when there is good reason to believe that there is virtually no chance the inmate will become violent again.
If that is too strict a standard for those employees to accept, let them leave their jobs as an act of conscience.