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Manhattan DA Vance Says Low-Level Arrests of Protesters Will Not Be Prosecuted

New York Law Journal

The Manhattan DA’s office will continue to evaluate other protest-related charges and will decline to prosecute where appropriate, according to a statement.

By Jane Wester | 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (Photo: Rick Kopstein/ALM)Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Photo: Rick Kopstein/ALM

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on Friday announced that his office will decline to prosecute charges of unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct related to arrests during protests for racial justice and against police brutality in the city.

Vance is apparently the first of the city’s five district attorneys to make such an announcement.

Prior to Vance’s announcement, the policy of his office was to offer arrestees an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. The Manhattan DA’s office will continue to evaluate other charges related to the protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and will decline to prosecute where appropriate, according to a news release.

“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,” Vance said in a statement. “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.”

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