Amid widespread looting and rampant violence across New York City, District Attorney Cyrus Vance said on Friday that his office will not be prosecuting any marchers arrested for breaking the city’s 8pm curfew who were out protesting the death of George Floyd.
A total of 1,730 people were arrested during protests in Manhattan since May 29.
The city previously arrested and prosecuted dozens of individuals for violating the city’s social distancing guidelines in the months of March and May, the majority of whom were black. According to the New York Times, more than three quarters of the arrests were made in the predominantly black neighborhood of Brownsville, while no arrests were made in the predominantly white neighborhood of Park Slope.
In an address on Friday, Cyrus Vance commended New Yorkers for standing up for their civil liberties by going out protesting, reports the New York Daily News.
“The prosecution of protesters 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,” Vance said.
“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," he added.
The DA’s office previously offered protesters charged with low-level offenses like disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly an adjournment of their cases provided they were not arrested again within a six-month period.
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed passed a law earlier this Monday following a weekend of violence in the city that called on the city’s police to impose a mandatory 8pm curfew until June 8. Essential workers, the homeless, and journalists are exempt from being arrested, but Rebel News reporter Anna Slatz, who was reporting on the scene in Manhattan, was arrested and spent two days across multiple holding facilities in the city.