Posted on July 1, 2021

Most Riot, Looting Cases From Last Year Dropped by NYC DAs

Jonathan Dienst and Courtney Copenhagen, NBC New York, June 18, 2021

One year ago, parts of New York City felt out of control as crowds of looters were seen smashing storefront after storefront.

The mayhem continued night after night from late May into June. At one point, there was even a so-called “looting dance party” on the streets of SoHo.

The mobs seemingly pillaged at will. Many were caught on tape, some with their faces visible. Others even posted on social their own videos of their actions those nights.


Police were far outnumbered and seemingly unprepared.

Hundreds of arrests were made during the looting and riots. Many of those arrests took place in Manhattan and along some commercial streets in the Bronx where the problems were widespread.

Surveillance videos show looters breaking into many locally owned Bronx stores, stores that were left ransacked.

NYPD data reviewed by the NBC New York I-Team shows 118 arrests were made in the Bronx during the worst of the looting in early June.

Since then, the NYPD says the Bronx district attorney and the courts have dismissed most of those cases – 73 in all. Eighteen cases remain open and there have been 19 convictions for mostly lesser counts like trespassing, counts which carry no jail time.

Jessica Betancourt owns an eyeglass shop that was looted and destroyed along Burnside Avenue in the Bronx last June.

“Those numbers, to be honest with you, is disgusting,” Betancourt said when told of the few cases being prosecuted.

Betancourt is also vice president of a local merchants association. She says local business leaders are upset few are being held accountable for the destruction they caused.


In addition to the NYPD and court data News 4 New York reviewed, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office provided data from the night of June 1-2, which included a total of 90 felony and misdemeanor arrests. Of those, 28 were outright dismissals. Fourteen were adjourned contemplating dismissal (ACD) which means if they do not get arrested within six months or do community service or other condition the case gets dismissed. The rest of the cases are either pending, or the accused pleaded guilty or received a conditional discharge.


In Manhattan, many major retailers and local shops were broken into in late May and into June. Amid the pandemic, mobs and organized criminals were taking advantage of huge protests rocking the city after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

In Manhattan, the NYPD data shows there were 485 arrests. Of those cases, 222 were later dropped and 73 seeing convictions for lesser counts like trespassing, which carries no jail time. Another 40 cases involved juveniles and were sent to family court; 128 cases remain open.

Law enforcement expert and former NYPD Chief of Patrol Wilbur Chapman voiced anger at the district attorneys’ dropping of so many looting and burglary cases.


“It allowed people who committed crimes to go scot free,” Chapman said.


In the Bronx, some businesses that had insurance are back. But the scars from the riots of a year ago remain.

“They could do it again because they know they won’t get the right punishment,” Betancourt said.