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Bail Reform Group Closes Las Vegas Chapter After Client Shoots Restaurant Worker


The Bail Project, an organization with the stated goal of bail reform, has discontinued its chapter in Las Vegas after coming under scrutiny for posting bail for a criminal who ended up shooting a restaurant worker.

In November 2021, Rashawn Gaston-Anderson was arrested for pandering and carrying a concealed weapon. A day after being released, he was arrested again for theft and burglary. In December 2021, The Bail Project posted a $3,000 bond and got him out. Six days later, Gaston-Anderson opened fire at a restaurant worker in Chinatown, shooting the victim Chengyan Wang a total of 11 times.

In September this year, Wang filed a lawsuit against The Bail Project, Gaston-Anderson, and Shanghai Plaza owner U.S. Hui De Real Estate Investment Corp., of Las Vegas where he was working when he got shot.

The Bail Project discontinued its operations in Las Vegas in early December this year due to restructuring, the group said, according to 8 News. The group’s Las Vegas webpage now returns a “404 error.”

“It’s an absolute tragedy and The Bail Project, myself speaking for The Bail Project found it absolutely shocking,” Cameron Pipe, regional director for The Bail Project in the West, said in an interview with the outlet.

When asked whether the organization noticed any red flags concerning Gaston-Anderson before bailing his bond, Pipe replied that “every single decision that we make at The Bail Project goes through the exact same thorough review.”

Lawsuit

Wang suffered serious injuries including a punctured lung and stomach from the shooting.

“He’s got scars all over his body,” his lawyer Kory Kaplan said to Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He can’t move his shoulder over a certain height. I don’t know how (the bullets) missed a vital artery.”

Wang was alone when he was fired upon by Gaston-Anderson. While Wang is seeking over $15,000 in damages from the organization and Gaston-Anderson, and the property owner is allegedly liable for not providing him with adequate security.

According to the lawsuit, The Bail Project failed to assess the potential danger that Gaston-Anderson posed to the community when making the $3,000 bail.

Gaston-Anderson’s past cases included two counts of grand larceny, carrying a concealed weapon without having a permit, and a business burglary.

Kaplan pointed out that The Bail Project has not registered as a bail agent with the Division of Insurance in Nevada. This is mandatory under state law.

“They’re going around as a bailing agency bailing people out with no or little due diligence,” the lawyer said.

Gaston-Anderson has been sentenced this month to seven to 18 years in prison for shooting Wang.

Bailing Accused Criminals

Funded by individual donors and foundations, The Bail Project has the backing of celebrities like Danny Glover, Richard Branson, and John Legend. On its website, The Bail Project claims to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system one person at a time.

“We restore the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that criminalizes race and poverty. We’re on a mission to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” it says.

In May, a statement filed at a court in Indianapolis stated that The Bail Project had posted free bail for 22,000 individuals from the low-income group as of December 2021.

The Bail Project is no stranger to bailing out accused criminals who have gone on to commit other crimes. In January 2021, The Bail Project posted a $5,000 bail for Travis Lang.

A few months later in October, Lang allegedly shot and killed 24-year-old Dylan McGinnis. Like Gaston-Anderson, Lang, too, had a history of offenses including possession of cocaine.

Naveen Athrappully

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.



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