NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — All the looting in the city has put a spotlight on bail reform.

The Manhattan district attorney says the result has been looters getting right back on the street right after they’ve been arrested, so he’s asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make some emergency changes, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported exclusively on Wednesday.

Call it an example of the revolving door justice system in New York — police bringing people arrested for looting to be arraigned at Manhattan Criminal Court, as others are being released without bail.

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This as Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said the looters who vandalized stores and caused untold millions of dollars of damage and loss should face harsher penalties. He wants the Legislature to change bail reform laws and also for Gov. Cuomo to use his emergency powers so that a judge can right now hold looters on bail.

“I want the office and I believe it would be appropriate to join 49 other states to eliminate cash bail and to have the judge, however, have the ability to detain someone when there is a clear risk of re-offense,” Vance said.

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The DA said the unusual dual crisis of COVID-19 and the violent protests in some parts of the city make it imperative for the governor to act. His remarks came after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea expressed his frustration about bail reform laws that have allowed looters back on the streets very quickly.

“We cannot have people entering a system and being released before the police officers,” Shea said Tuesday.

“This is about people who are taking advantage of this moment when people want to come out and protest peacefully,” Vance said. “I’m calling for more judicial discretion.”

Court officials say approximately 550 people have been arrested citywide on looting charges, while others, like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, received desk appearance tickets for lesser offenses.

A spokesperson for the governor said they do think there’s a need for emergency powers, because the law would allow judges to set bail if a person is carrying a dangerous instrument, including a rock or a brick, or if that instrument is used to break a window or door to gain entry.

A spokesperson for the district attorney questions whether that interpretation applies to the protesters.

Spokesmen for the state legislative leaders did not return CBS2’s calls seeking comment about bail reform changes.

Comments (7)
  1. trumpsupportergal8 says:

    Cyrus Vance Jr, pathetic joke of a human being/man. Corrupt/elitist to the highest degree and I believe a woman hater. His time will come if Trump gets in another term.

  2. mary says:

    the Bronx thinks the rest of USA nuts. We dont want protesters here we have own our quality of life issues. Stay out and keep away We do respect Police

  3. schmid says:

    Omega Man, yes, people have been arrested for protesting peacefully. In fact, people are being beaten by police for protesting peacefully. The internet is teeming with examples, from the “commune of NY” and from many other cities. Do your research.

    I also want to clarify a definition. “Peaceful protesting” sometimes = civil disobedience, meaning technical violations of the law on the part of the protestor, in ways that *do not* harm those around them. This is a tactic that has been used in important social movements throughout history.

  4. Omega Man says:

    Applies to protestors? Protestors wouldn’t be arrested if they were protesting peaceably, right? Anybody that is arrested was breaking the law in some manner. But, hey, I’m just you using good ol’ American common sense and that is totally foreign to the commune of NY.

  5. Michael Dennehy says:

    Obama says that it’s just an opportunity to make people uncomfortable … by looting their stores.

  6. nomoretraitors says:

    Yeah, let ’em out so they can loot again. Good job, Dems

    1. Kathy Bates 7 says:

      Cyrus Vance Jr, LOL! So from his allowing all these looters to commit larceny, one can only presume he is also going to vacate other individuals convictions for Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny?? Seeing as now this appears to look like selective prosecution???? Maybe defendants should start filing motions to reverse/vacate their convictions-charges? Vance is a puppet.

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