#Gov. Cuomo calls on NYC prosecutors to crack down on looters

Gov. Cuomo calls on NYC prosecutors to crack down on looters

June 4, 2020 | 1:50pm

New York City’s district attorneys must get tough with looters capitalizing on the George Floyd protests — charging them strongly enough to keep them from walking free without bail to strike again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

“The DA should charge these looters,” Cuomo told reporters in an Albany briefing. “They should be held and [the judges] set bail.”

Hundreds of alleged looters have ransacked city stores under the cover of the demonstrations demanding justice for Floyd, a black Minnesota man killed May 25 after a white Minnesota cop knelt on his neck.

But they have largely been cut loose without bail because they were hit with charges ineligible for bail under state reforms enacted earlier this year, to the frustration of law-enforcement.

Cuomo challenged that prosecutors could keep the opportunists off the street and still “charge appropriately” for the alleged crimes.

“To the New York City district attorneys … it would be nonsensical if the police were arresting looters and they were then being arrested and returned to the street the next day to loot again,” said Cuomo.

The governor, a former prosecutor, said that the DAs have it within their power to stop the stream of alleged looters flowing back to the streets.

“I’m a former assistant district attorney,” he said. “Burglary 2 can be burglary with a dangerous instrument, like a pipe, like a crowbar, like a rock, like a brick.

“If you have looters who are using rocks, breaking windows, stealing, these people should be charged for the crime that they are committing and bail set.”

Under state law, burglary in the second degree — which remains eligible for bail — can be charged when the defendant “uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument.”

“I understand some of the district attorneys may feel uncomfortable charging that [looting] as burg 2, because traditionally they charge that as burg 3,” said top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa. “But they have the tools available to them.”

Manhattan DA Cy Vance and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, whose boroughs have been hardest hit by the unrest, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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