What Happens to Looters Arrested in NYC? They’re Released

Ah, the joys of bail reform.

Earlier this year, New York City instituted bail reform which calls for releasing most suspects not accused of major or violent crimes as they await trial. It makes sense, as most suspects show up for their court dates and holding someone who is accused, not convicted, just because they cannot make bail can dramatically affect their lives through lost employment, lack of child care, etc.

But sometimes the letter of the law and the circumstances don’t fit.

Looting is not a major crime, however, releasing someone suspected of looting on Monday night, when looting continues on Tuesday and presumably in the days to follow, is frustrating.

New York City police chief Terrence Monahan told the New York Post on Tuesday that they had made more than 650 arrests on Monday alone, and most will be released.

Monahan said:

“We had some arrests in Brooklyn where they had guns, [and] hopefully [Brooklyn district attorney] Eric Gonzalez will keep them in, [but] I can’t guarantee that’ll happen. But when it comes to a burglary [at] a commercial store, which is looting, they’re back out. . . . Because of bail reform, you’re back out on the street the next day. You cannot be held on any sort of bail. I spoke to [Manhattan district attorney] Cy Vance about that, he told me there’s nothing he can do.”

Potentially getting arrested and then being immediately released doesn’t sound like much of a deterrent.

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