FPI / September 17, 2020
A Pennsylvania judge set bail at $1 million for 9 of 12 adults arrested in rioting that took place in Lancaster on Monday.
The rioting transpired in the wake of the police shooting death of 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz, a man who charged a police officer with a knife in his hand, police body camera footage shows.
Facing multiple felony and misdemeanor rioting charges, including arson, riot, criminal conspiracy, and institutional vandalism are: Talia Gessner, 18; Taylor Enterline, 20; Kathryn Patterson, 20; Yoshua Dwayne Montague, 23; Jamal Shariff Newman, 24; T-Jay Fry, 28; Dylan Davis, 28; Lee Alexander Wise, 29; Barry Jones, 30; Matthew Modderman, 31; Jessica Marie Lopez, 32; and Frank Gaston, 43.
Montague was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm.
Magisterial District Judge Bruce A. Roth set bail for nine of the defendants at $1 million each, with court records showing that all were unable to post bond.
All are being held at the Lancaster County Prison.
Bail information could not be obtained for Lopez, and Wise had his bail set at $100,000. He was also unable to post his bail.
Police said Gaston was on probation at the time of his arrest and a detainer would be lodged against him.
A 16-year-old boy also faces rioting charges and other charges including disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, possession of instruments of crime, propulsion of missiles onto a roadway, and institutional vandalism.
The $1 million bail amount was slammed by a local advocacy group Lancaster Stands Up:
“The absurdly high bail amounts indicate that what we’re seeing is not a measured pursuit of justice, but a politically motivated attack on the movement for police reform and accountability,” the group tweeted.
The great majority of responses to the tweet contended that the bail amount was justified, with many saying it could have been even higher.
One response said: "The arrested are part of an insurgency group that is determined to destroy our society. Their own words... If released they pose a threat to the peace and tranquillity of the community. Bail should be set higher under those circumstances. Hopefully other jurisdictions follow."
The bail amount also came under fire from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who called it “blatantly unconstitutional.”
“It’s self-evidently unconstitutional,” Fetterman told Lancaster Online. “Whatever the merit of the underlying charges, what is absolutely indefensible is a million dollar bail for those charges.”
Free Press International