Celeb-backed California Bail Project shuts down after releasing man who allegedly went on to shoot waiter 11 times

The burglary suspect, who was released after the California-based Bail Project posted his $3,000 bond, went on to shoot a waiter in Las Vegas 11 times less than a week later.

A celebrity-backed bail reform group from California has been forced to shut down after being sued for releasing a dangerous criminal who tried to murder a waiter in a Las Vegas restaurant, the New York Post reports.

The Bail Project, a non-profit whose supporters include Danny Glover, John Legend, and Richard Branson, posted the $3,000 bail needed to spring burglary suspect Rashawn Gaston-Anderson from jail in December 2021.

Six days later, he shot waiter Chengyan Wang 11 times at the Chinatown restaurant where he worked.

The announcement of the non-profit's closure was reported in early December, with the group saying that operations were being discontinued due to restructuring.

Gaston-Anderson has been sentenced to seven to 18 years for the shooting.

Wang is suing The Bail Project for failing to take into account the repeat offender's previous and pending cases, which include grand larceny, auto theft, carrying a concealed weapon, and multiple burglary charges, all over the course of more than four years.

"Normally when bail is posted, a cash bail, it is a family member or friend who is familiar with the accused," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. "They are vouching for the person. They are risking their own money ... and if they put up $3,000 and this person doesn’t show up or re-offends, they lose their own money."

"In this case, we have an out-of-state national organization with little or no ties to our community who puts up the cash bail," he added. "They’re going around as a bailing agency bailing people out with no or little due diligence."

The Bail Project never registered with Nevada's Division of Insurance as a bail agent, as required by law, despite Gaston-Anderson being one of at least 51 people for whom the group has posted bail in the Las Vegas area.

Cameron Pipe, a regional director for The Bail Project, says he found the shooting "absolutely shocking," stating that "every single decision that we make at The Bail Project goes through the exact same thorough review."

Katie Poor, deputy general counsel for the non-profit, pointed to the fact that the judge is the one who sets the bail, and that the group simply provides "free bail assistance" to those whom they consider innocent until proven guilty.

Their website says that the group "combats mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system — one person at a time."

"We’re on a mission to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system," it adds.

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