Legal Aid sues NYPD, saying 108 people are locked up after protests more than a day without seeing a judge

Police arrest demonstrators in Union Square in Manhattan on Thursday, May 28.
Police arrest demonstrators in Union Square in Manhattan on Thursday, May 28. (Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)
The Legal Aid Society is demanding the NYPD release 108 people busted during George Floyd protests around the city, saying they’ve been held for more than 24 hours before getting their day in court.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday night, Legal Aid argued the city is violating New York’s 24-hour arrest-to-arraignment requirement.
The lawsuit comes as state court officials accuse the NYPD of processing arrest paperwork “glacially," leading to a logjam of more than 400 prisoners in Manhattan’s Central Booking — many charged with burglary for alleged looting. Under the state’s criminal justice law reforms, judges would be required to release them without bail until their next court dates.
Legal Aid compared the delays to how the NYPD handled the mass arrest of thousands of protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The city paid $18 million to settle lawsuits related to those arrests.
“This flagrant violation of law by the New York City Police Department appears to be designed to retaliate against New Yorkers protesting police brutality,” said Tina Luongo, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-charge of criminal defense practice.
“Under the new pretrial reforms, the overwhelming majority of these charges require that people be released on their own recognizance to fight their cases later in court," she added. "Instead, these New Yorkers are now being held illegally, deprived of due process and needlessly subjected to increased risk of contracting COVID-19, endangering each of them as well as the entire community. We demand the release of these people at once.”
When asked earlier Tuesday about the delay in processing arrests, and a state Office of Court Administration spokesman’s remarks the police were moving glacially, an NYPD spokesperson responded: "We have no comment on this suggestion. We are arresting several hundred people a day. And we are keeping several thousand cops on the street at all times.”

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