Data from the NYS Attorney General's Office shows that black protestors are much more likely to face serious charges.
Between May 28th and June 7th - the height of recent Black Lives Matter Protests in New York City, the NYPD arrested over 2,000 protestors. Of these arrests, white people made up about 44%, while black people made up about 39%. Despite these similar numbers, data released by New York State’s Office of the Attorney General reveals that 16% of the black arrestees were charged with a felony, compared to just 3% of white people.
Latinx people made up about 13% of the arrests with approximately 8% being hit with felonies.
One public defender’s organization in Manhattan also found that, between May 29 and June 6, only 5% of the 72 people arraigned in “protest-related cases” were white. Almost 70% of those 72 arraignments involved third-degree burglary charges, a nonviolent felony with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
“The only folks who were being held were the kids of color, who were being charged with these ridiculous, trumped-up felony cases. And that was just really, really enraging,” said Jessica Heyman, an attorney for the New York County Defender Services.
Furthermore, the Manhattan DA’s office released data confirming that most of its protest arraignments were of non-white people. Among the 484 people arraigned between May 28 and June 4 for “protest and ‘looting’ related cases,” only 30 (6%) were white.
Black people made up about 71% of those arraignments while Hispanic people made up another 20%. About 430 of those arraignments involved felonies, most frequently third-degree burglary.
As black protestors are being arrested and hit with these trumped-up charges, the NYPD is continuing to be hit with several allegations of excessive force, mistreatment of essential workers and detentions of neutral legal observers, fueling calls to defund or entirely abolish the force.