A Pennsylvania judge set the bail at $1 million each for several protesters who were allegedly rioting in the wake of the police shooting of a knife-wielding man from Lancaster.
Lancaster Police arrested 12 adults and one juvenile for staging the alleged riots around 3 a.m. Monday. The clashes between police and protesters ultimately caused the police to disperse tear gas to control the crowd.
The overnight violence in the city came after the death of 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz, a man who allegedly charged a police officer with a knife in his hand, according to police body camera footage.
The officer fatally shot Munoz outside his mother’s house Sunday afternoon in downtown Lancaster.
The angry mob of protesters marched from where the shooting took place to the police station, hurling glass bottles, gallon jugs filled with liquid, bricks, and plastic road barricades, police said.
A county vehicle parked in front of the police station also suffered some damage.
Twelve adults — Talia Gessner, 18; Taylor Enterline, 20; Kathryn Patterson, 20; Yoshua Dwayne Montague, 23; Jamal Shariff Newman, 24; T-Jay Fry, 28; Dylan Davis, 28; Lee Alexander Wise, 29; Barry Jones, 30; Matthew Modderman, 31; Jessica Marie Lopez, 32; and Frank Gaston, 43 — face multiple felony and misdemeanor rioting charges, including arson, riot, criminal conspiracy, and institutional vandalism.
A 16-year-old boy also faces rioting charges and other charges including disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, possession of instruments of crime, propulsion of missiles onto a roadway, and institutional vandalism.
Montague was also charged with illegal possession of a firearm.
Magisterial District Judge Bruce A. Roth set bail for nine of the defendants at $1 million each, with court records showing that all were unable to post bond.
All are being held at the Lancaster County Prison.
Bail information could not be obtained for Lopez, and Wise had his bail set at $100,000. He was also unable to post his bail.
Police said Gaston was on probation at the time of his arrest and a detainer would be lodged against him.
The $1 million bail amount quickly gained a lot of criticism from a local advocacy group “Lancaster Stands Up,” who claimed Patterson and Enterline were working as medics at the protest when police arrested them.
The absurdly high bail amounts indicate that what we’re seeing is not a measured pursuit of justice, but a politically motivated attack on the movement for police reform and accountability.
— Lancaster Stands Up (@lancstandsup) September 15, 2020
“The absurdly high bail amounts indicate that what we’re seeing is not a measured pursuit of justice, but a politically motivated attack on the movement for police reform and accountability,” the group tweeted.
The bail amount also came under fire from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who called it “blatantly unconstitutional.”
“It’s self-evidently unconstitutional,” Fetterman told Lancaster Online. “Whatever the merit of the underlying charges, what is absolutely indefensible is a million dollar bail for those charges.”
The officer involved in the shooting was responding to a 911 call placed by Munoz’s mother, who said that her son was getting “aggressive” and attempted to break into her home.
His family has said he has a history of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and was not taking his medication at the time.
Munoz was scheduled to go on trial for allegedly slashing four people in a knife attack in 2019.