A leader with Black Lives Matter BloNo says the group that paid bail to free 10 looting suspects from the McLean County jail demonstrates how unfair the bail system is.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund paid $80,000 last month to release the suspects from custody as they await trial.
Ky Ajayi with BLM BloNo said anyone upset that the alleged looters got out of jail should take a closer look at a system that unfairly targets minorities.
“Basically, what they are saying is if you’ve been accused of a crime you should be locked up until it’s time for you to go to court to have your case heard,” Ajayi said. “If that’s what they really believe, that’s un-American, that’s not what our justice system says.”
Ajayi rejects claims that helping the alleged looters get out of jail will set back the movement for racial justice.
“If that process is going to take them away from the Black Lives Matter movement, and the movement for justice against murderers, I would ask those same people, bail was set for some of the officers who stood by and did nothing as the life was choked out of George Floyd. Those officers have been bailed out. Do they have the same qualms about those officers?
“If so, their problem is with the system, not Black Lives Matter," he said.
In early June, looters struck several stores in Bloomington-Normal, during the same week as peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. The looting went on for several nights before police made dozens of arrests.
“If people are going to be swayed by the local and not by the distant, then I think we need to have to continue having these conversations to try to flesh out exactly where do people stand on these issues,” Ajayi said.
BLM BloNo has consistently called for eliminating the cash bail system. It’s one of several demands the group has included in its policy agenda that also includes sharply reducing funding for local police, shifting more resources to bolster social services to help minorities and expanding voter access.
McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said during a recent County Board Justice Committee meeting one of the suspects allegedly staged a fake hostage threat after getting bailed out and another missed a court date.
Ajayi said no one should be held in custody while awaiting trial only because they lack the financial means to make bai, adding, “There’s obviously a risk whomever is bailed out could reoffend.”
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