New York City’s district attorneys’ reportedly dropped hundreds of charges brought against rioters and looters arrested in 2020, according to NBC New York.
Rioters took to the streets in major cities throughout the country initially in response to the death of George Floyd last summer, leading to hundreds of arrests by the New York Police Department (NYPD). Despite the destruction caused by rioting and looting throughout NYC, district attorneys dropped hundreds of charges in connection to the riots, NBC New York reported Friday.
Out of the 485 arrests in Manhattan connected to rioting and looting, 222 have allegedly been dropped and 73 are convicted of minor crimes that do not require jail time, NBC New York reported. Currently, 128 cases remain open and another 40 were sent to family court as it involves minors.
Over 60% of charges were reportedly dropped in the Bronx, with 73 of the 118 charges being dropped, with 19 getting convicted on lesser counts, The New York Post reported.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in an internal memo that authorities made over 600 burglary arrests and over 3,500 un-indicted felony cases on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He ordered his office to change the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to NBC New York. (RELATED: Dozen Arrested During Violent Demonstrations In New York City)
“For many of these commercial burglaries, you will be asked to reduce the initial felony charge to a misdemeanor and to dispose of the case … with an eye towards rehabilitation,” Vance told his office, according to NBC New York.
Vance ordered his office to review both the defendants’ criminal histories and the evidence brought against them. Several district attorneys’ offices dropped charges due to a lack of evidence and a failure to distinguish whether the person was a peaceful protester or rioter, NBC New York reported.
Former NYPD Chief Chapman said the dropped charges allowed the rioters to go “scot-free.” He blasted the district attorneys’ decision to drop charges entirely, and said they should find “another line of work.”
“It [dropped charges] allowed people who committed crimes to go scot free,” Chapman said, according to NBC New York. “If [the district attorneys] are so overworked that they can’t handle the mission that they’re hired for, then maybe they should find another line of work .”
Jessica Betancourt, an eyeglass shop owner in the Bronx, had her business destroyed by looters.
“Those numbers, to be honest with you, is disgusting. I was in total shock that everything is being brushed off to the side,” Betancourt said. “They could do it again because they know they won’t get the right punishment.”
Over 2,000 people were arrested between May 28 and June 5, 2020, the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) accused the NYPD of violating protesters’ rights through the use of force and crowd control tactics.
The 2020 riots resulted in economic damage of roughly $500-900 million in insured losses, ranking the second most costly in history trailing behind the 1992 Los Angeles Rodney King riots.