There have long been calls for bail to end in the U.S. prison system. Here is what some jurisdictions are doing to reform it.


The judge, who set a $ 1 million bail for protesters arrested during demonstrations following a deadly police shooting in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is likely to reconsider after widespread criticism, including from the state’s lieutenant governor, who considered it “overtly constitutional.”

Lancaster police arrested 12 adults and a young man after about 100 people gathered outside the city police station on Sunday after police killed Ricardo Munoz, 27, who authorities say they were chasing an officer with a knife.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

At least seven of them were detained with a $ 1 million bail, according to police. District Judge Bruce Roth, who set the original bail, per. LancasterOnline, is holding a hearing Thursday for defendants who filed petitions requesting bail.

The adults face charges including conspiracy to commit arson, riots, institutional vandalism and disorder. One is accused of carrying a concealed weapon without permission. The 13 defendants range from 16 to 43 years old and live in Lancaster and surrounding communities.

‘I need help’: Pennsylvania Mayor desperately makes prayer after fatal police shooting of Ricardo Munoz

The father of Kathryn Patterson, 20, a student at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, told the Associated Press that she acted like a doctor, as she has been at other recent protests. Chip Patterson called his daughter’s $ 1 million bail “obscene.”

“Everything I know so far, which is not much, indicates that Kat is not guilty of these charges. But then again, we’ll have to wait and see, ”said Chip Patterson, who lives in Mercersburg, about 20 miles west of Lancaster.

He said he has not been able to reach his daughter since her arrest.

“I can not tell you how long this night has been,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I think no matter what these people did or did not do, the amount of bail is just outrageous and clearly against the Eighth Amendment,” which relates to bail.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania condemned the bail amount “exorbitantly high”.

“The $ 1 million cash bail order for several young protesters at Black Lives Matter last night is a violent and unacceptable abuse of the bail system,” Reggie Shuford, executive director of ACLU in Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Cash bail should never be used to deter protesters and chill speech. “

More: White Nebraska business owner charged with manslaughter in May on shot by James Scurlock, a black protester

Detectives are reviewing online video and surveillance footage, and additional charges are likely to be filed, according to police.

Clashes between police and protesters erupted after a night of largely peaceful demonstrations in downtown Lancaster on Sunday in the wake of Munoz’s deadly shots.

Munoz’s sister had called the authorities in hopes of getting him involuntarily committed to mental health care. She said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Body camera video showed Munoz approaching an officer with the knife in a manner that appeared to be a threatening manner before the officer, who has not been identified in public, shot and killed him.

Lancaster, Pa., Protests: What we know after policeman killed a man who chased him with a knife

Munoz had been charged with several counts of aggravated assault in 2019 after allegedly stabbing at least four people, including a 16-year-old.

Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said during a news conference Tuesday that he is mourning with the family of Munoz and that he is eager to find out what happened and see the results of the investigation.

A crowd formed in front of the police station on Monday night, but the protest remained small and calm compared to Sunday.

Contribution: Joshua Bote, USA TODAY; York Daily Record; Associated Press

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg.

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