A Lancaster County judge Thursday is expected to revisit the $1 million bail set for several people charged earlier this week with arson- and riot-related crimes.
Magisterial District Judge Bruce Roth of Lancaster set the bail at $1 million for at least nine of the 13 protesters arrested after a peaceful protest in response to the police shooting of Ricardo Muñoz turned violent early Monday morning.
Muñoz, whose family says he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and was off his medication, was shot and killed by police Sunday afternoon after charging at an officer with a knife.
The protesters’ cases will be revisited in response to bail petitions filed by some of the defendants who hired private attorneys, Roth said in an email. He said he is hosting these bail hearings to allow both sides to present their arguments, now that each of the defendants have secured counsel.
“And at this point, I want all the defendants to be treated equally, so I tried to procure attorneys for all of them, so they could all have bail hearings at the same time,” Roth said.
National, state and local civil rights advocates decried the high bail amounts set by Roth as excessive. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has made criminal justice reform a signature issue, went so far as to call the bail amount “unconstitutional.”
Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said in a statement following the arrests that her office supports the right to peacefully protest, but the “riotous behavior exhibited” would not be tolerated.
“Make no mistake, those who cannot peacefully protest and instead resort to violence will be prosecuted and held fully accountable,” Adams said.
Adams’ office did not provide Roth with any recommendation for the bail amount, the district attorney office’s spokesperson, Brett Hambright, said in an email.
Local racial justice organizations SafeHouse Lancaster, the Lancaster branch of the NAACP, Lancaster Stands Up and the Lancaster Legal Collective are working to get the protesters released as soon as possible, SafeHouse Lancaster announced on Facebook.
With those efforts, the Lancaster NAACP said it plans to launch a redress fund to raise money toward each of the individuals’ legal fees and will be working with the National Bail Fund Network to get the protesters released once bail is finalized. There also are multiple GoFundMe accounts created on behalf of each of the protesters.
“Now more than ever we must come together as a community and help one another,” wrote Isaac Etter, who leads SafeHouse Lancaster, in a Facebook post. “Together we will see justice, together we will have our friends and family back with us.”
The Black Student Union and Kappa Delta Sorority at Franklin & Marshall College raised more than $36,000 toward the $1 million bail of student Kathryn Patterson.
In a letter signed by hundreds of students and sent to the college’s president, F&M’s Black Student Union is calling on the college to mobilize its alumni to support Patterson and other protesters.
Patterson and Taylor Enterline, a West Chester University student who has led multiple advocacy efforts in the county in recent months, were both working as street medics during the protest, their supporters say. Enterline also was arrested and charged and is being held at $1 million bail.
Carlos Jiminez, a vice president of the civil rights organization Green Dreamz, said in a press conference that Patterson and Enterline, as well as Jessica Lopez, Dylan Davis and T-Jay Fry, “do not deserve these charges."
“They would have never willingly allowed anybody to come into this city and turn it upside down,” Jiminez said. “They are angry, they are passionate, they are here for the movement not the moment, but they did not do this.”
Davis and Fry are both being held at $1 million bail. Lopez is charged with felony riot and vandalism charges, as well as protest-related misdemeanors, and her bail was set at $250,000.
Mathew Modderman, a client services representative in the Client Solutions department at LNP | LancasterOnline, was being held on $1 million bail but was released Tuesday night, according to his attorney. Modderman’s attorney did not know how much cash his client posted to secure release.
Other protesters being held on bail include Alexa Wise, of Camp Hill, who is charged with felony riot charges and protest-related misdemeanors. She had her bail set at $100,000.