Career criminal Rakeem Washington, known for his long rap sheet and history of violent offenses, was arrested once again for attempted robbery on a subway train in Lower Manhattan. This incident comes just days after Washington was released following a similar crime on the rails, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
The 38-year-old offender was apprehended in the early hours of Friday when he brandished a box cutter and demanded money from a 56-year-old man aboard a southbound No. 4 train. Refusing to comply, the victim found himself in a heated argument with Washington, prompting the conductor to alert the authorities. Thanks to the victim’s identification, Washington was swiftly taken into custody.
This arrest follows Washington’s previous encounter on Monday, where he allegedly snatched a commuter’s phone on a No. 6 train heading uptown. After demanding $200 from the 23-year-old victim, Washington resorted to violence, threatening to kill him when the phone was not handed over. Despite these serious charges, Washington was granted supervised release, a decision that has drawn criticism from both law enforcement and the public.
The NYPD’s Transit Bureau expressed their frustration with Washington’s release in a scathing Instagram post, emphasizing the need for the criminal justice system to hold repeat offenders accountable. The post highlighted the alarming fact that just four days after his initial arrest, Washington was once again taken into custody for attempting to rob another subway rider at knifepoint. The message concluded with a plea for better protection for New Yorkers.
Washington’s criminal history in New York City spans back to 2005, with charges including assault, robbery, drug possession, and fare evasion. Additionally, he has a prior conviction from Nassau County in 2006 for attempted robbery, robbery, and aggravated harassment. Sources indicate that Washington has a history of mental health issues, including a 2019 case where he experienced hallucinations of his face and body being on fire. His mother has also stated that he suffers from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and is a user of the synthetic drug K2.
As the city grapples with rising crime rates and concerns over public safety, the arrest of Rakeem Washington serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The repeated offenses committed by a career criminal with a troubled mental health history raise questions about the adequacy of supervision and treatment for individuals like Washington. The incident has reignited the debate on how to effectively address the issue of repeat offenders and ensure the safety of New York City residents.