The City Council Wants Answers After Portia Pollock’s “Preventable Death”

Electronic tagging system for offenders (Electronic monitoring tag)” is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

District “B” Councilmember Jay H. Banks requested the participation of Chief Judge Herman, Judge Harris, and Judicial Administrator Kazik at the upcoming Criminal Justice Committee Meeting to clarify the procedures that determine eligibility for electronic monitoring. This request is the direct result of the City Council wanting answers about how the murder of Portia Pollock could have been prevented. 

60-year-old Portia Pollock, who was known for her peaceful nature and kind spirit, was stabbed to death on North Dorgenois Street on June 8. The murder occurred during a carjacking by suspect Bryan Andry. 

Andry was out of jail on reduced bail after two armed robbery charges last year. Judge Harris lowered his bail from $250,000 to $100,000 after he agreed to enroll in the court’s drug program and wear an ankle monitor. 

While the murder was occuring, Andry was wearing that ankle monitor. 

“Was it operational? Who was monitoring? Nobody has identified who was monitoring,” Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said

Many wonder why Andry, with a violent criminal history dating back to 1991, was given reduced bail with electronic monitoring. “Electronic monitoring ought to be for somebody who is not a threat to another human being,” Banks commented. “Once you have violated someone, I think you forfeit that right, that is me, now again, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a judge, I’m speaking just as what I consider to be a rational person and somebody that is fearful.”

Pollock’s loved one’s view the death as preventable, citing the lack of tracking the ankle monitor and low bail as failures on the justice system’s part. “This was a preventable death. I believe there were several areas where the justice system failed her,” said Pollock’s niece Fatima Muse

Following the attack, Andry was on the run for four days before he was arrested by police. He has been charged with second-degree murder and his bond is set at $1.5 million dollars. The State asked that Andry’s bail be revoked which Judge Harris agreed to, along with granting a continuation until July 19. 

“Nothing we do will bring that wonderful person back, but if we can do something to make sure that this is not duplicated ever again, I think we have a responsibility to do [that],” Councilmember Banks said

In a letter to Chief Judge Herman, Judge Harris, and Judicial Administrator Kazik, Councilmember Banks wrote, “We will never know if this tragedy could have been prevented but in the hope of preventing others, as the Chairman of the City Council Criminal Justice Committee, I respectfully ask that we have a dialogue that clarifies the procedures that determine who and how individuals are deemed eligible for electronic monitoring.” 

Banks has emphasized that he is calling the Chief Judge in front of the committee not to find someone to blame, but rather to figure out how the ankle monitor process works. In the letter he elaborated that at the meeting he would like to discuss with the officials: 

  • The name of the monitoring company
  • A copy of the contract between the Courts and the monitoring company 
  • The policy of the Court for the use of electronic monitoring 
  • Are all offenses eligible for electronic monitoring 
  • Who makes the recommendation that monitoring be used
  • Who is responsible for monitoring 
  • Who is responsible for vetting violations 
  • Specifically, who is notified if there is a violation
  • What is the timeframe for notification of a violation 
  • Who is responsible to pick up the offender if a violation has occurred 
  • What happens to the offender if a violation occurs 

The Criminal Justice Committee Meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 16, at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers.

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