Former Dog the Bounty Hunter star Duane Chapman has thrown his support behind a lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie looking to reform the state’s bail laws, saying Monday that new rules eliminating cash bails were “killing people.”
Chapman spoke at a news conference in Trenton announcing a wrongful-death lawsuit filed this week by the family of Christian Rodgers, 26, a Millville man who was gunned down in April in Vineland. The suspected shooter, Jules Black, 30, had previously been in custody on a weapons charge, but was released several days prior to the shooting because of new bail laws in the state.
“It’s killing people, as you can see. What we need now is for people to stand up for your rights, for your lives, for your children and grandchildren,” Chapman said Monday, according to Fox News. “Without a deterrent, this is what happens.”
Besides Christie, defendants in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, include state Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The suit argues that bail reforms this year in New Jersey show that the defendants “acted with a willful and conscience (sic) indifference to the laws that protect” New Jersey citizens like Rodgers.
Dubbed the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act, the new rules were approved in 2014, and this year implemented the use of risk-assessment tools by judges to determine the possibility of pretrial release for defendants, as opposed to having them pay a fee. Chapman claims that those reforms essentially allowed the shooting of Rodgers earlier this year.
“I wanted to help support the Rodgers family and to send a message to Gov. Chris Christie that law enforcement professionals like myself from across the country think he should be ashamed of himself for ignoring our advice and passing the dangerous, fake reform that I believe led to the tragic murder of Christian Rodgers,” Chapman said via a statement.
Christie, meanwhile, declined to meet with Chapman about the subject, telling reporters at a Monday news conference that he had no plans for a sit-down.
“Who’s my least favorite cabinet member?” Christie said. “I’ll ask them to meet with the bounty hunter.”
Dog the Bounty Hunter ran for eight seasons on A&E before being canceled in 2012.