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Law Firm Calls for the NYPD to Stop Arresting People During Coronavirus Outbreak

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The Legal Aid Society is calling for the New York City Police Department to stop arrests as the city is grappling with outbreaks of COVID-19, commonly known as the Wuhan coronavirus.

The firm, which primarily provides legal services to low-income people in the city, also called for people to be released who are in custody for parole violations and pretrial detention.

"We are in the midst of a pandemic and our last priority should be to cycle New Yorkers through our broken criminal justice system, separated from their families, communities, and quality services. City Hall must place an immediate moratorium on arrests, and for the hundreds of clients we have languishing in DOC custody pretrial or because of parole violation, we call for their immediate release," Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement.

"These facilities are literal breeding grounds for infectious diseases such as COVID-19. The continued incarceration of our clients during this health crisis could very well carry a death sentence," she added.  

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to order a "shelter-in-place" for city residents, but he has ordered all restaurants, bars and cafes to shift to delivery and take-out only and the closure of all movie theaters, small theaters, nightclubs and commercial gyms to help stop the spread of the virus.

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