A day after freeing a gang member who posted an anti-cop death threat online, a Brooklyn judge ignored the admonishment of a court boss — and sprung a man who allegedly punched a police officer and threatened to kill his colleagues, The Post has learned.
Criminal Court Judge Laura Johnson blatantly disregarded an Office of Court Administration boss who said she “should be setting an example to the public that threatening or assaulting police officers isn’t an acceptable thing,” a courthouse source said.
The admonishment came in the wake of Saturday’s execution-style slayings of two NYPD cops as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn.
“The court administrator told her she exercised poor judgment, and that she had a case on later that night, and that she should exercise better judgment in that case,” the source said.
“It was a stern conversation,” the source added. “And she totally ignored it.”
On Tuesday night, Johnson released Travis Maye, 26, without bail following his arrest in a violent melee with cops earlier that day.
According to court records, Maye took swings at cops at Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Place at around 1:35 a.m., socking one officer in the eye and sending him to the hospital.
Devon Coley was freed without bail two days ago by Johnson after making death threats against the NYPD on Facebook.Photo: DCPI
After being pepper-sprayed, stunned with a Taser and put in handcuffs, Maye, 26, ranted at the cops that he would “find out where you live” and “get you,” court papers say.
“You will die!” he allegedly ranted.
Johnson, a former high-ranking Legal Aid lawyer, was appointed to the bench by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her term expires next Wednesday, and Mayor de Blasio is “considering” her reappointment, a City Hall official said.
Johnson came under fire following her decision Monday night, first reported by The Post, to spring Devon Coley without bail after he confessed to posting an online photo of a gunman shooting into an NYPD cruiser.
His Facebook post came just hours after cops Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were assassinated the same way, and included the phrase “73Nextt” — an apparent reference to the 73rd Precinct.
Although a prosecutor asked for $250,000 bail, Johnson let Coley, 18, walk free without posting anything.
On Tuesday night, Johnson doubled down by freeing Maye, who allegedly assumed “a fighting stance” and began swinging at cops who found him standing between EMTs and “an agitated individual bleeding profusely from the arm.”
According to a transcript of Maye’s arraignment hearing, prosecutor Tziyonah Langsam asked for $100,000 bail, reciting the threats Maye allegedly made after being subdued.
“Once handcuffed, the defendant yelled, ‘I Googled all of you. Find out where you live. I don’t know about dead cops or your families. I will meet you in a bodega and get you. You will die,’ ” Langsam said.
Johnson, however, sided with defense lawyer Adam Lubow.
‘I WOULD HAVE UNQUESTIONABLY RELEASED MR. MAYE A WEEK AGO WITHOUT EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT.’
- Judge Laura Johnson
Johnson said the incident “appears to have been an extraordinarily emotion-laden and hectic situation,” adding that it would be “wrong” to impose bail “because of the current climate.”
“I would have unquestionably released Mr. Maye a week ago without even thinking about it,” she noted.
Johnson later cut off Langsam when she attempted to argue that Maye had injured several cops and interfered with the EMTs trying to help his brother.
“I will hear no more,” Johnson declared.
Cops reacted with fury, with a police source saying: “She’s totally out to lunch.”
“How the hell can she keep doing this? It’s really unbelievable. She should be removed from the bench immediately.”
One cop said Johnson was “beaming all of New York City back to the horrific ’70s. These decisions are bad for police, bad for New Yorkers and bad for people who were thinking about visiting here.”
The head of the state court officers union, Dennis Quirk, said, “If any other police officers are injured or killed, the blood of those police officers will be on her hands for demonstrating to the public that it’s OK to assault and threaten cops. She’s unfit to be a judge.”
A spokesman for the state court system refused to comment.
Additional reporting by Frank Rosario