The city of Torrance is the latest to join a rapidly expanding number of cities suing to end Los Angeles County’s controversial zero-bail policy for those arrested for non-violent crimes.
The Torrance City Council voted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to join the lawsuit, which now involves more than two dozen cities.
Under the new protocol, many people arrested for crimes including car theft, retail theft, burglary, vandalism, possession of stolen property, forgery and other “non-serious” and non-violent offenses can be cited and released, or booked and released, instead of being held on bond.
L.A. County Superior Court announced the new protocols in July, arguing the previous bail schedule inherently discriminated against the poor.
“A low-risk arrestee should not be held in jail simply because they cannot post the necessary funds to be released pending arraignment,” Presiding Judge Samantha Jessner said at the time.
The zero-bail policy took effect on Oct. 1 and was roundly condemned by law enforcement and many civic leaders as a threat to public safety.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced his opposition days before it went into effect.
“Law enforcement is averse to the list of ‘book and release’ offenses because that approach offers little to no deterrence to those involved in a range of serious criminal offenses,” Moore said. “We are asking the court to not release individuals who pose risks to the community safety, including those with repeated instances of prior serious offenses.”
Los Angeles has not yet joined the lawsuit.
Current plaintiffs are the City of Arcadia, City of Artesia, City of Azusa, City of Baldwin Park, City of Beverly Hills, City of Cerritos, City of Covina, City of Downey, City of Duarte, City of Glendora, City of Industry, City of Irwindale, City of La Mirada, City of La Verne, City of Lakewood, City of Lancaster, City of Manhattan Beach, City of Norwalk, City of Palmdale, City of Paramount, City of Rosemead, City of San Dimas, City of Santa Clarita, City of Santa Fe Springs, City of Santa Monica, City of Torrance, City of Vernon, City of West Covina, and City of Whittier.
“The City of Torrance remains committed to public safety and urges communities and stakeholders to join in advocating for sensible and responsible criminal justice,” the city said in a statement.