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LAS Secures Release of Essential Worker Caught In NYPD's Bronx Protest Crackdown

The Legal Aid Society has secured the release of Devaughnta Williams, a janitor at a city social services building who was arrested by police in last week’s widely-criticized protest crackdown in the Bronx. Despite being allowed to be out of doors after the city’s (since-rescinded) 8 p.m. curfew, Mr. Williams was arrested along with more than 250 others and charged with multiple parole violations, ultimately spending an entire week in jail on scant evidence.

A subsequent investigation by DOCCs, however, confirmed that Williams was not involved in throwing objects or other destruction, leading to his warrant being vacated. He is expected to be released today, according to Gothamist.

Legal Aid has decried the selective and discriminatory treatment Mr. Williams has received, noting that black city residents are jailed for parole violations at a rate 12 times higher than white people.

“This parole violation, like many others, underscores just how counterproductive New York’s parole violation system is to the purported goals of parole supervision: to support successful re-entry,” said Laura Eraso, a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society. “A violation like the one Mr. Williams is facing undermines the critical bonds that serve to empower his successful reentry back into his community.”