Barclay: ‘How Did a Man Wanted for Attempted Murder Receive NYS Benefits?’
“How did a man, wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon, qualify for and receive New York State benefits? The state does ask the applicant if they are ‘or someone in their household is fleeing prosecution, confinement or conviction of a felony.’ But should it be that easy? Should we put all of our trust in the applicant to be honest and check ‘yes’ if they are indeed wanted for a crime?
“Somewhere there is a hole in the system. The news that this man, who is wanted in South Carolina for attempted murder, was receiving benefits points to a problem with the system.
“Essentially, the state has given money to a known felon, and enabled him to continue living as a free man. I commend the Fulton PD for doing their job in catching this man, but I think we need to take a closer look at the methods for approving the benefits application. While an extensive background check, similar to the ones performed on teachers prior to employment, is not necessary, perhaps the state could cross-reference outstanding warrants. Something similar to the background check police perform on those they arrest would be a good place to start. A better criminal check needs to be in place for the safety of our communities.”