“We demand accountability from police and our fellow prosecutors, and we demand systemic change – and commit to bringing about these changes in our own communities,” the prosecutors wrote. “There have been some strides made, but not nearly enough as the body count at the hands of violent police officers continues to rise in cities across this nation.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office pays to feed Harlem residents through its Robin Hood-like Criminal Justice Investment Initiative.
This is not the testimony I had prepared to deliver on March 19, nor could I have foreseen that any of us would be participating in this hearing in this manner. The coronavirus outbreak has upended our lives and the fabric of our society in ways that we are still grieving and struggling to comprehend.
Beyond looking at the individuals who were incarcerated prior to the virus hitting, I believe that COVID-19 demands that prosecutors think differently about pre-trial detention requests at the outset. What we are experiencing is extraordinary, and extraordinary times call for us all to be flexible, while still guided by our foundational principles of promoting safety and justice.
While some are reserving virtual interviews for white-collar cases that are particularly time-sensitive, perhaps involving an ongoing threat, others — such as the Manhattan district attorney’s office — are using it with cases “across the board,” said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, the office’s chief assistant district attorney. They include cases of homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, attempted murder and robbery.