Waiter shot 11 times sues bail reform organization that assisted client’s release from prison
A lawyer representing a man shot numerous times by an intruder in Las Vegas in 2021 said on Friday that a California organization paid bail for the attacker without examining his criminal history.
Chengyan Wang, a server at a restaurant, is now suing The Bail Project and two other defendants in District Court for 11 gunshot wounds inflicted by Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 24. This month, Gaston-Anderson was sentenced to seven and eighteen years in jail for the shooting.
“He is covered with wounds,” said Wang’s attorney, Kory Kaplan. “His shoulder cannot move over a particular height. I have no idea how the rounds missed the critical artery.”
On December 20, 2021, Gaston-Anderson shot Wang after rushing into and robbing the ShangHai Taste restaurant at 4266 Spring Mountain Road in the Shanghai Plaza shopping center in Chinatown. Wang was alone at the Chinese restaurant when Gaston-Anderson entered with a weapon.
According to Kaplan, Wang miraculously survived the eleven-shot onslaught, but he still receives medical care and has sustained severe lifelong disabilities.
Wang has filed a complaint against the owner of The Bail Project, Shanghai Plaza U.S. Hui De Investment Corp. of Las Vegas, and Gaston-Anderson, seeking more than $15,000 in damages for his pain and suffering.
Kaplan asserts that U.S. Hui De Real Estate Investment Corp. is accountable for failing to provide appropriate protection at the plaza when Wang was shot. Eric K. Chen named the company’s legal counsel in Las Vegas on its web brochure, could not be contacted for comment on Friday.
The Bail Project, which happens to advocate against the cash bail system countrywide and provides free bail funds for the indigent, paid for Gaston-exit Anderson from jail on December 14, just six days before the mall shooting, by providing the $3,000 cash for his release following his arrests for burglary and grand larceny over 48 hours.
According to Wang’s lawsuit, at the time bail was set, the project failed to assess the suspect’s potential danger to the community in light of his pending, and prior cases, including business burglary, carrying a weapon without a permit, two counts of grand larceny, and also attempted grand larceny.
Kaplan said that the nonprofit organization never did register as a bail agent with Nevada’s Division of Insurance, as required by state law under pain of a crime.
Kaplan said, “They are acting like a bail agency, releasing individuals with little or no due diligence.”
A representative of The Bail Project could not be contacted by phone at its Pasadena, California, headquarters.
In a broad email in response to a query, the project characterized what it does as a bail reform organization. However, it still needs to answer whether the organization currently has an office in Las Vegas, where it previously had one.
The organization’s website identified its offices in cities around the nation but needed to include Las Vegas. A Google search for “The Bail Project Las Vegas” returned a page with the error message “404” and the phrase “…unfortunately, the page you are searching for cannot be located.”
The organization’s primary website states that it “combats mass imprisonment by undermining the money bail system, one person at a time.”
The document said, “We reinstate the presumption of innocence, reconnect families, and confront a system that criminalizes race and poverty.” “Our objective is to abolish cash bail and establish a pretrial system that is more fair, equitable, and compassionate.”
David Gaspar, national director of operations, said in a May declaration filed in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis that the organization has posted free bail for 22,000 low-income individuals as of December 2021, with a more than 72,000 court appearances and 92 percent attendance rate.
In determining whether to post bail for an individual, the project “considers a variety of factors in addition to the individual’s specific charges, as people held on bail are presumed innocent by law and have been deemed eligible for pretrial release, contingent on the payment of bail, by a judge,” according to Gaspar’s statement.