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Manhattan DA says he won't prosecute some NYC protesters who are arrested


'The Office will also continue to evaluate and decline to prosecute other protest-related charges where appropriate'

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said his office would not prosecute certain offenders who were arrested during George Floyd protests.

The Manhattan DA announced a new policy on Friday that his office would not prosecute George Floyd protesters who were arrested on charges of Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct.

"Previously, the DA's Office's policy was to offer individuals charged with these low-level offenses an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, meaning their cases would be dismissed within six months," the statement from the Manhattan District Attorney read.

"The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve," the DA's office said.

The Manhattan DA also proclaimed, "The Office will also continue to evaluate and decline to prosecute other protest-related charges where appropriate."

"The DA's Office's policy is designed to minimize unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system, reduce racial disparities and collateral consequences in low-level offense prosecutions, and enable the Office and court system to preserve resources for the prosecution of serious crimes," the press release read.

The Manhattan DA added that individuals who commit "violence against police officers, destruction, or looting" will be "charged with appropriate crimes."

Cyrus Vance Jr. tweeted, "We have a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime."

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who chairs the state Senate Judiciary Committee, called for DAs to not prosecute protesters for unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct.

"Systemic reform has to include our treatment of protesters," Hoylman said last week. "There's nothing unlawful about a New Yorker exercising their First Amendment rights. I'm calling on all five District Attorneys in New York City to drop charges against protesters for the class B misdemeanor of Unlawful Assembly (Penal Law Sec. 240.10) and the violation of Disorderly Conduct (Penal Law Sec. 240.20)."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "It is our understanding that each arrest will continue to be looked at on a case-by-case basis."

New York police have arrested over 2,000 individuals during the protests.

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