LOS ANGELES, CA – California’s controversial “cashless bail” policy is responsible for putting multiple criminals right back out on the street after their arrests, including those connected with recent “smash-and-grab” lootings of retail stores, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said 14 suspects arrested in connection with 11 mass lootings of retail businesses in late November – resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise loss and property damage – are currently free due to the city’s “soft on crime” policies.
“All the suspects taken into custody are out of custody, either as a result of one juvenile, or the others as a result of bailing out or zero-bail criteria,” Moore said.
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In March, it was ruled by the California Supreme Court – despite voters in the state casting ballots against a proposal to end the cash bail system in November 2020 – that judges must consider a defendant’s ability to afford to pay for bail, which allows many of them to simply go free.
Since then, the policy has seen multiple criminals turned back out on the street after their arrests, with many of them going on to offend again repeatedly.
For example, the cashless bail policy is being blamed by officials in San Jose and Santa Clara County for allowing the release of two men suspected in a murder committed this past Halloween, in addition to a suspected car thief being arrested 13 times over 12 weeks, only to be released without bail each time.
As for the 14 smash-and-grab suspects, according to Chief Moore they allegedly looted 11 stores in Los Angeles between November 18 and November 28, making off with approximately $338,000 in stolen goods and causing over $40,000 in damage.
Despite the criticism of the cashless bail policy, which allows most defendants to go free pending further legal action unless they are deemed to be dangerous – and sometimes even if they are – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, a proponent of ending bail for most crimes, claimed that criminals would still be taken to task for their transgressions against the law.
“Our office has been collaborating with multiple law enforcement agencies and once all the evidence has been gathered, we will review the cases to determine what criminal charges should be filed,” Gascon’s office said in a statement. “These brazen acts hurt all of us…retailers, employees and customers alike.”