A Lancaster County judge set bail at $1 million for some of the protesters arrested for arson and riot-related charges early Monday morning following the police shooting of 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz.
The protesters are each charged with felony arson, riot and vandalism charges, among other protest-related charges. At least six of the eight people arrested Monday morning had bail set at $1 million by Magisterial District Judge Bruce Roth on Monday night, according to court documents. One of the protesters was not eligible for bail, and another person’s docket had not yet been updated.
An additional five people - four adults and one juvenile - were arrested on Monday after further investigation, police announced Tuesday. They are still waiting for a judge to set their bail.
The $1 million bail quickly came under fire from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and a local advocacy group, with Fetterman calling it “blatantly unconstitutional” and an infringement on the protesters’ Eighth Amendment right against excessive bail.
Fetterman noted that the officer charged with killing George Floyd was held on $1 million bail.
He was alerted to the issue after Lancaster Stands Up called on Fetterman and other elected officials to intervene, sharing the picture and story of one of the arrested -- Taylor Enterline, 20, a West Chester University student who has been leading protests and advocacy in Manheim for the last several months.
“It’s self-evidently unconstitutional,” Fetterman said. “Whatever the merit of the underlying charges, what is absolutely indefensible is a million dollar bail for those charges.”
Roth should reconsider this bail amount, Fetterman said.
The 8th Amendment of U.S. Constitution:“Excessive bail shall not be required”Ms. Enterline’s bail amount is blatantly unconstitutional. https://t.co/jtWeDBLhJj— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 15, 2020
Roth said he could not comment on these cases, but that he considered Lancaster city police’s input when setting bail. Affidavits for the protesters’ arrests were not immediately made available.
City police did not request the bail amount, said Lt. Bill Hickey, the public information officer for the bureau. The District Attorney's office did not provide any input regarding bail, spokesperson Brett Hambright said in an email.
The protesters are charged with several felony offenses, which are considered in the judge's equation when deciding bail, as well as the input of police.
"The crimes that these defendants are facing include serious felony offenses," Hickey said in an email. "This is not a new or unheard of practice and falls within the rules of criminal procedure."
Four of the people arrested Monday morning were from outside Lancaster County. Two of the people are experiencing homelessness, according to city police. Matthew Modderman, one of the people arrested, is employed by LNP | LancasterOnline as a client services representatives in the Client Solutions department.
The suspects allegedly piled wood, metal street signs and trash bags to light on fire at the intersection of Chestnut and Prince streets, according to city police.
Reggie Shuford, the executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, in a statement called the bail orders “unacceptable,” and said the state ACLU wants answers from Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams and Roth. Adams’ office said it did not add any input about bail for these cases.
“The one million dollar cash bail orders for several young Black Lives Matter protesters last night is an egregious and unacceptable abuse of the bail system,” Shuford said. “Cash bail should never be used to deter demonstrators and chill speech.”
The ACLU of Pennsylvania is advising local counsel to file emergency motions in response to these bail orders, its director of communications Andy Hoover said in an email.
Whether the charges are merited, Fetterman said he believes this high bail is going to “further inflame and escalate what needs to be a peaceful protest and a resolution of the tragedy.”
Police identify protesters as 'main agitators'
In charging documents used by police explaining the charges, each of the protesters is allegedly seen and identified by detectives as a “main instigator” of a riot that included crowds throwing bricks, rocks, glass and more at officers and at the police station, resulting in approximately $6,000 worth of damage.
Police said they saw the protesters who were arrested “actively throwing listed items at police, failing to disperse when ordered, and/or adding items to the fire in the street,” according to several of the affidavits of probable cause.
Although this narrative appears in each of the criminal complaints for those arrested the first night of Lancaster city’s protests, some of the cases vary. For example, Yoshua Montague, 23, of York, was identified by police as a “participant promoting this behavior” among the others. But he has additional charges for possessing a handgun without a permit.
Additionally, Jamal Newman, 24, of Lancaster, fled on foot when officers attempted to arrest him for his alleged involvement in the riot. He ran through several backyards before getting arrested by police, and was wanted for an outstanding warrant by police, according to the criminal complaint.
Other protesters reject police account
But several protesters who were present early on Monday morning said police arrested people at random. Local civil rights group leaders said at least some of the protesters they know were not engaging in arson or riot, with at least two of them serving as medics to help other protesters.
Alaak Deu, who has led protests throughout the county since the police killing of George Floyd, was with Kathryn Patterson, 20, of Mercersburg, and Enterline when they got arrested.
Deu said Patterson and Enterline, who are both members of civil rights organization Green Dreamz, were helping protesters as medics throughout the night giving medical attention to injured protesters. They did not set any fires and remained entirely peaceful throughout the evening, Deu added.
Police jumped out of a police van on Water Street near Chestnut and immediately held the group at gunpoint early Monday morning. At this point, both Patterson and Enterline laid flat on the ground, Deu said.
Patterson’s father, Chip Patterson, said his wife has been at the Lancaster County Prison and will stay there until they are able to hear from their daughter. Chip Patterson said this bail means they’d need to have at least $50,000 in cash to secure the release of their daughter, which he said he did not have on hand.
Kathryn Patterson is a junior at Franklin & Marshall College, and a member of its Black Student Union and Kappa Delta Sorority. Students from these organizations have raised more than $36,000 toward her bail as of Tuesday night. A GoFundMe for Enterline also raised more than $9,000 toward her bail.
Isaac Etter, who leads local racial justice organization SafeHouse Lancaster, said he and other local organizations are organizing a fund for bail, but that there is not a bail fund to contribute to as of right now.
“I understand the panic and worry happening right now around the bail,” Etter wrote on Instagram. “I too am very concerned about the outrageous amount the bail was set at.”
“I will be working tirelessly today to get our friends out as fast as possible,” Etter added.
The Pattersons have not been able to talk to their daughter since she was arrested, and Chip Patterson said he doesn’t know whether she committed the crimes but that she is a firm believer against using violence in protests.
“She’s not a danger to the community,” Chip Patterson said. “I think it appears these protesters are being made an example of and that is not justice. That is not fair, and it’s really I think a huge black eye for the city of Lancaster and for the county in which I grew up. It’s completely disappointing.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.