Filbert Mwezi Gacinya was released from jail on Sunday. His release was not because of mistaken identity or because he is a model citizen. He was in jail for punching a 90-year-old woman and has six other cases pending for charges ranging from sex abuse to aggravated harassment and assault. In fact, Multnomah County (Oregon) officials described him as a “danger to the community!!” and “not a good candidate for release at this time.”
So why was he released? Because the county jail is overcrowded. Gacinya was among 20 people permitted to leave jail Sunday, according to The Oregonian. According to the Sheriff’s office, 162 inmates have been turned loose so far this year due to overcrowding.
That happens when the jail is at 95 percent capacity to make room for inmates with more serious charges. The county system ranks inmates based on their risk to themselves and others, propensity for violence, criminal history and charges, said sheriff’s Sgt. Brandon White.
On average, officials say, at least 50% of those who leave jail under an emergency release re-offend.
Gacinya’s assault charge stems from an incident on Sept. 17.
Gacinya had pulled down his pants and was repeatedly yelling at bystanders, “You want to look?” before he approached the 90-year-old woman. Several other pedestrians had crossed the street to get away from the stranger, but … [the victim] couldn’t move as fast, witnesses told police. As she tried to walk around the man, she was attacked without provocation, they said.
The victim, who was not been identified to protect her safety, told Fox 12:
He was out there dropping his pants, and displaying himself, oh yes, he was an exhibitionist. And he was shouting. But I was trying very hard not to pay attention to that and just walk along.
According to Fox 12, Gacinya is due back in court Oct. 26.