“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.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is among those questioning the clear discrepancies between the application of law for those who attended President Trump’s January 6th rally and then entered the Capitol building and for those who spent the bulk of last year burning, looting, and murdering their way through Democrat-run cities.
As hundreds of the former are to this day still being held in custody, with at least one beaten and permanently disfigured by jail guards, New York City has dropped charges on hundreds of alleged looters, many of whom were caught on video smashing windows, stealing goods, and setting businesses on fire.
In late May and early June 2020, looters smashed storefronts in the Bronx and Manhattan boroughs of New York City.
Many were caught on tape, some with their faces visible. Others even posted their own videos of their actions those nights on social media. Hundreds were arrested.
But a review of NYPD data by the investigative team at WNBC, the NBC owned station in New York, shows that a large percentage of the cases — particularly in the Bronx — were dismissed, and that many convictions were for counts like trespassing that carry no jail time.
. . . . According to the data, 118 arrests were made in the Bronx during the worst of the looting in early June.
Since then, the NYPD says the Bronx district attorney and the courts have dismissed most of those cases — 73 in all. Eighteen cases remain open and there have been 19 convictions for mostly lesser counts like trespassing, counts which carry no jail time.
Betancourt, who is also vice president of a local merchants ‘association, called the numbers “disgusting.” She said local business leaders are upset few are being held accountable for the destruction they caused.
. . . . The NYPD data shows there were 485 arrests in Manhattan. Of those cases, 222 were later dropped and 73 resulted in convictions for lesser counts like trespassing, which carries no jail time. Another 40 cases involved juveniles and were sent to family court; 128 cases remain open.
The lack of consequences for lawless looters and rioters—many of whom were released the same day of their arrests, free to return to the streets—is an outrage not only to local business owners but to law enforcement experts.
NBC News continues:
Law enforcement expert and former NYPD Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman voiced anger at prosecutors for dropping so many looting and burglary cases.
“If they are so overworked that they can’t handle the mission that they’re hired for, then maybe they should find another line of work,” Chapman said.
The NYPD did set up a task force after the riots to examine videos and photos to separate suspected rioters from peaceful protesters. That work shares similarities with what the FBI is doing in making hundreds of arrests after the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
But unlike federal prosecutors who are moving forward with prosecutions of the Capitol Hill rioters, New York City prosecutors are disposing of most burglary-related cases.
. . . . Former Chief Chapman says while the NYPD did some follow-up, the data shows the district attorneys and the courts have not.
“It allowed people who committed crimes to go scot free,” Chapman said.
Bronx DA Darcell Clark declined repeated requests for an interview, as did Manhattan DA Cy Vance.
In an internal memo, Vance says there were over 600 commercial burglary arrests in addition to over 3,500 unindicted felony cases in the pipeline waiting to move forward in the courts. His memo says all those cases were on hold because of the pandemic.
Before dropping a case, Vance told his prosecutors to review defendants’ criminal histories, whether police could really place the suspect at the scene, and whether the individual caused “any damage to the store.”
Vance told his office, “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.”
It’s not clear from this statement whether or not there is sufficient evidence on the felony charges—and if so, on how many of the alleged perpetrators, but it sounds like those on the ground believe “people who committed crimes [are being allowed] to go scot free.”
If the people present during “these commercial burglaries,” were indeed guilty of only trespassing, as allegedly were many of those arrested in conjunction with the events at the Capitol, that’s one thing. If, as seems likely the case since who wanders into a store being looted to snap a few selfies?, the perpetrators are indeed guilty of felonies and hundreds of them are having charges dismissed “with an eye towards rehabilitation,” that is another thing entirely and a standard that must be applied across the board.DONATE
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