Andrew Cuomo Complains That Looters Are Getting Out Of Jail — His Bail Reform Opened The Door

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for looters to be charged with bail-eligible crimes — after his sweeping bail reforms made that all but impossible.

New York’s bail reforms, which took effect January 1 of this year, removed the option of cash bail for a number of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies — which included stealing from stores or looting, which is classified as “burglary in the third degree.”

Cuomo, according to a report from News 1 New York, has called on police in the wake of multiple nights of unrest and looting to elevate charges against looters in order to make it easier police to hold them. (RELATED: ‘He Played Dumb’: Jesse Watters Slams Andrew Cuomo Over Nursing Home COVID Directive)

“You look at these videos, it would be nonsensical if the police were arresting looters and they were then being arrested and returned to the street the next day to loot again. That would be nonsensical, right?” Cuomo asked, suggesting that looters ought to be charged with second-degree burglary in order to make their crimes eligible for bail.

Melissa De Rosa, Secretary to the Governor, explained that possession of a weapon — even a rock — could help elevate the charges. “Bail can be set if a person is, A: carrying a dangerous instrument, which includes a rock; or, B: uses a rock, brick, or the like to break the window to gain entry; or C: another participant acting with the defendant, that did A or B. That is burglary two under penal law 140.25,” she said.

The problem is that, in order for second-degree burglary charges to stick, prosecutors say that the people arrested for looting must be positively identified as the ones who broke the windows and initially broke into the stores.

“The facts of those cases don’t support such a charge,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said.

Cuomo has reached out in other ways to attempt to help businesses that have been impacted by riots and looting.