The Texas Organizing Project (TOP), which, among other things, helps defendants who cannot afford to pay their bond, helped free 34-year-old Shane James in February 2022 after he was booked for allegedly assaulting a family member.
According to KSAT, TOP statewide policy coordinator Laquita Garcia personally saw to it that James had his bond covered, despite the fact that far from being in jail for a non-violent offense, he had three pending cases in Bexar County, all for allegedly causing bodily harm to his relatives.
Shortly after being released, James removed his ankle monitor, prompting police to issue a warrant for his arrest. When officers arrived at his home, they found him in his bedroom without any clothes on, and opted not to try and apprehend him out of fear the situation could turn violent.
In a statement, TOP spokesman Daniel Barrera said the group was "profoundly saddened and deeply troubled" by James' actions, adding, "We condemn his most recent egregious acts, full stop."
Barrera admitted that TOP had paid James' $300 bond in 2022, and stated that "we take our responsibilities seriously and acknowledge that we must address both the immediate impact of this tragedy and the broader implications for our bail program."
"We want to make clear that TOP has a thorough and rigorous screening process in place to assess individuals who are eligible for our bail program, with a focus on assisting with misdemeanor offenses," he added. "James was deemed eligible based on our criteria at the time. However, TOP has had no interaction with James since March 2022. We acknowledge that our assessments cannot anticipate the future actions of individuals. We are committed to conducting a comprehensive internal review of our program and processes."
As Fox News reports, prior to helping James get out of jail, TOP had received over $1 million from George Soros' Open Society Foundations Network, with two donations, $700,000 and $565,000, provided in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
James' recent crime spree began in the morning and lasted until he was finally tracked down and arrested in the evening. During that period, he killed four people in Austin and injured three others, including two police officers. He was later connected to a home just outside San Antonio where his parents were found dead.
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