Leaders in Montgomery are continuing to pass the buck as residents express displeasure with how the City handles crime after a suspect in a shooting that paralyzed an innocent woman swiftly made bail after his arrest.  

In April, Amy Dicks was struck by a bullet in a crossfire while stopped at a red light on the Atlanta Highway. Dicks was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for her wounds. The family afterward announced that Dicks was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of the shooting. She is still recovering from her injuries.

Last week, the Montgomery Police Department announced five arrests in the gunfire exchange.

SEE: Multiple new arrests made in shooting that left innocent Montgomery woman paralyzed

Michael Johnson, 20, and Javaris Anderson, 22, both of Prattville, were charged with first-degree assault and two counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.

Je'Kwon Foster, 20, and Ji'Mecya Ford, 19, of Prattville, along with Tyrone Davis, Jr., 18, of Millbrook, were all charged with discharging a firearm into an unoccupied vehicle.

During a news conference on the arrests, City of Montgomery chief operating officer Jerime Reid stated that they requested the highest level of bail for the suspects.

Johnson and Davis were swiftly released; Johnson’s bail was set at $90,000, and Davis’ at $15,000. Soon after, citizens expressed frustration at the pair’s release on social media and at the Montgomery City Council. Many were enraged at the lack of severity in the charges, combined with the fact that at least two of the suspects were walking free.

RELATED: Mother of paralyzed Montgomery shooting victim calls out city council — 'Crime has overridden Montgomery, Alabama'

In response to rampant speculation on who to blame for the suspects' bonding out, Montgomery District Attorney Daryl Bailey released a statement clarifying who was in charge of setting bail and claiming MPD rejected his office’s recommendation for both charges and bail. Although Bailey stated he could not name cases specifically, it was blatantly obvious which crime he was referencing.

“I have received many phone calls and emails over the last 24 hours and I hear your frustration,” Bailey wrote. “I work within this system, and I am continually frustrated. When a crime occurs law enforcement investigates. Once they believe they have probable cause that a person has committed a crime they can seek a warrant from a magistrate and make recommendations to that magistrate about bail. My office works closely with law enforcement on advising them regarding charges and bail primarily on violent crimes. Most of the time, law enforcement accepts our recommendations and we work hand in hand to get bad guys off the street.”

He continued, “MPD rejected our advice on both charges and bail. That is their prerogative. Once the investigation is complete our office will present the criminal case to a grand jury. A grand Jury can charge or not charge. A grand jury can also upgrade charges based on the evidence and recommendations of the District Attorney. I cannot say it plainly enough that when it comes to violent crime in Montgomery my office will always seek the highest available charge and the highest available bail amount. NO EXCEPTIONS.”

Responding to the news that Johnson had made bail, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed's chief of staff Chip Hill took to social media, boasting of MPD’s success rate and blaming recidivism on local judges setting bail.

Bailey denied Hill’s version of events, saying a judge never even saw the bonded suspects since they were released hours after arrest.

“In that case, no judge ever saw the person because they bailed out of jail within hours of their arrest,” Bailey continued. “Once bail is set it is very hard legally for a judge to increase bail unless the person charged violates some condition of their release.”

Finally, Bailey blamed bond companies, who he claims have changed strategies after losing money due to the state’s implementation of Aniah’s Law, which allows suspects to be held without bail in certain circumstances. The law applies to murder, sexual torture, terrorism and aggravated child abuse of a child under the age of six, as well as first-degree rape, kidnapping, sodomy, domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, arson and robbery. Bailey stated that additional crimes should be added to Aniah’s law by the legislature, moderating bail bond companies and strengthening the state’s gun laws.

“Because of Aniah’s law, bonding companies started losing money,” Bailey concluded. “To get around this they started implementing payment plans for bail. For example, if John Doe is arrested and his bail is set for 90k and he cannot pay the normal 10 to 15% fee that bonding companies charge then he could not make bail. Now bonding companies are accepting payments plans. So John Doe could pay a $1000 dollars and then make monthly payments on the fee. Bonding companies are pledging millions of dollars in bail amount to the court without the ability to pay the bail if the defendants do not show up to court. This also needs to be changed by our legislature.”

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.