• More than 100 New York protesters are being held for more than 24 hours after being arrested
  • A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has denied a request for their immediate release
  • NYPD admits that social distancing cannot be applied in some cases

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke has denied a request by The Legal Aid Society lawyers for the immediate release of protesters held in custody for more than 24 hours, Thursday (June 4).

The emergency lawsuit filed Tuesday (June 2) against the New York Police Department called for the release of more than a hundred protesters “detained illegally” for more than 24 hours, violating the state’s 24-hour arrest-to-arraignment requirements.

The suspects were arrested during protests in Manhattan sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died when a white arresting officer held him to the ground by kneeling on his neck. Protests have turned violent, with several injuries reported among police and protesters alike.

As of that hearing, the number of people arrested in Manhattan waiting to see a judge while held for more than 24 hours has climbed to 202 according to a lawyer for the NYPD.

The New York Daily News reports that Burke denied the request during a hearing held via video, saying that expedient processing of the protesters was “a crisis within a crisis,” elaborating that he saw “a civil unrest crisis within the overarching COVID-19 crisis.”

Burke reportedly said that an exception to the 24-hour rule could be made because the current coronavirus pandemic further complicated the processing of the arrests.

“It is simply a fact that [remote hearings] slow down the pace of arraignments,” Burke said. He also recognized the increased work and case loads of the NYPD, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the courts.

Fox New’s Bryan Llenas reported that during the hearings, an NYPD attorney admitted that the colume of arrests has limited the application of social distance among suspects held in custody.

The attorney also called the arrested suspects rioters. “I won’t call them protesters, I’ll call them rioters,” he said.

The Legal Aid Society has tweeted that they “strongly disagree” with Burke’s ruling and said they will appeal the decision.

“As of 6 PM tonight, 160 [New Yorkers] citywide remain in custody 24+ hours after their arrest, which is some progress, but 160 [New Yorkers] too many,” the Legal Aid society tweeted. “We’ll continue to monitor this situation and we are ready to appeal if necessary.”

President Trump has demanded that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio call in the National Guard to control the protests and prevent violence and looting.

Trump also called the protesters “hoodlums and thieves” in a tweet after looters ransacked Macy’s on 34th Street.