Posted on December 28, 2022

Las Vegas Bail Fund Closes After Being Sued for Freeing Serial Criminal Who Tried to Murder Asian Waiter

Hope Sloop, Daily Mail, December 26, 2022

A celebrity-backed woke bail fund has shuttered after being sued for freeing a serial criminal who tried to murder an Asian waiter just six days later.

The Bail Project – whose backers include Richard Branson, Danny Glover and John Legend – announced it was disbanding its Las Vegas chapter earlier this month over the case of Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 24.

Rashawn Gaston-Anderson

Rashawn Gaston-Anderson

He was arrested in November 2021 for burglary and theft but was released by The Bail Project after they paid his $3,000 bail.

Less than one week after he was released, Gaston-Anderson went into a restaurant and opened fire on an Asian waiter named Chengyan Wang, shooting him 11 times and almost killing him.

Wang survived, and is now suing The Bail Project over the incident.

Wang’s lawsuit has targeted The Bail Project for paying to free Gaston Anderson in spite of his criminal past.

It and similar nonprofits have sprung up since the Black Lives Matter protests and riots of summer 2020 to help free suspected criminals unable to afford bail.

Supporters say the bail system reinforces a two-tier justice system, that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that it’s unfair for a poor person to languish behind bars while richer defendants can walk free.

But critics say the idea springs dangerous criminals back onto the street – and can even embolden them to reoffend. Cities and states which have sought to limit the use of bail have all recorded spikes in crime.

Katie Poor, deputy general counsel for The Bail Project, doubled down on the organization’s mission to free those who are innocent until proven guilty, even as the organization shuddered its Nevada chapter.

In November 2021, Gaston-Anderson was arrested by officers for pandering and carrying a concealed carry, according to court records.

He was allowed to walk without paying bail in that arrest and was advised to stay out of trouble in the future.

The very next day, he was arrested again in Las Vegas for burglary and theft.

That’s when The Bail Project stepped in.

The group, which seeks to disrupt the cash bail system, paid the $3,000 bond set by Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Amy Chelini.

Six days after he was released from jail, Gaston-Anderson walked into the Shanghai Taste restaurant and shot at Wang 11 times.

Wang said earlier this he was struck seven times, telling Las Vegas’ News 3 in March that bullets punctured one of his lungs and his stomach.

Miraculously, the waiter survived and has undergone rehabilitation for his injuries.

‘I can still vividly remember when the first police officer on the scene immediately helped me stop the bleeding on my neck,’ Wang said in an interview. ‘And helped me put pressure on other ones.’

In the lawsuit, Wang’s attorneys say The Bail Project used ‘no due diligence in determining whether Rashawn Gaston-Anderson would be a danger to the community and likely re-offend.’

In January, Cameron Pipe, regional director of the West for The Bail Project, called the incident ‘shocking’ and a ‘tragedy.’

‘It’s an absolute tragedy and The Bail Project, myself speaking for The Bail Project found it absolutely shocking,’ Pipe said.

One local outlet asked Pipe earlier this year how a decision like the one made in regard to releasing Gaston-Anderson could be made.

‘Every single decision that we make at The Bail Project goes through the exact same thorough review,’ Pipe said at the time.

The owners of Aztec Bail Bonds also spoke with 8News Las Vegas and said they are skeptical of the process and the mission.

‘I don’t think they care and truly don’t care because some man nearly lost his life,’ Lilia Ceballos said.

‘We pick and choose who we want to do business with. We just don’t bail out habitual problem cases,’ Manny Ceballos told the outlet.

Since February 2021, The Bail Project has released 51 individuals in Las Vegas, according to a spokesperson.

91 percent of those who have been bailed out have returned to the court date, the spokesperson said.

Deputy General Counsel for The Bail Project, Katie Poor, said their organization is committed to providing resources and freeing those who are innocent until proven guilty.

‘We provide free bail assistance and what we call community release with support which includes rides to and from court, court notifications and we attempt to navigate services in the community based on our clients’ self-identified needs.’

Gaston-Anderson had previously stated he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that the Bail Project did not offer him any services for his mental health issues.

Poor told 8News in December she couldn’t comment on any other aspects of the man’s case due to pending litigation.

Gaston-Anderson initially got away but was identified as a suspect and arrested a week after the shooting on December 20, 2021.

‘I can still vividly remember when the first police officer on the scene immediately helped me stop the bleeding on my neck,’ Wang said through an interpreter. ‘And helped me put pressure on other ones.’

On October 31, Gaston-Anderson entered a guilty pleas for charges of attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and mayhem with the use of a deadly weapon.

The plea guarantees he will serve seven to 18 years in prison.

According to The Bail Project’s website, the organization believes in ending cash bail and calls the issue ‘one of the defining civil rights and racial justice issues of our day.’

‘Along with our bailouts and direct services, we use the power of human stories and data to make the public case for ending cash bail and investing in communities and alternatives to incarceration,’ the group’s website states.