Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. today announced the D.A.’s Office’s policy regarding arrests on charges of Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct during ongoing demonstrations against the use of excessive force and killing of George Floyd. Previously, the D.A.’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. Under the new policy, the D.A.’s Office declines to prosecute these arrests in the interest of justice. The Office will also continue to evaluate and decline to prosecute other protest-related charges where appropriate.
“The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve. Days after the killing of George Floyd, our nation and our city are at a crossroads in our continuing endeavor to confront racism and systemic injustice wherever it exists. Our office has 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. We commend the thousands of our fellow New Yorkers who have peacefully assembled to demand these achievable aims, and our door is open to any New Yorker who wishes to be heard.”
The D.A.’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. If evidence emerges that any individuals personally participated in violence against police officers, destruction, or looting, such individuals will be charged with appropriate crimes.