Here's How Some New Yorkers' Warrants Were Forgiven in Manhattan
New Yorkers with outstanding summonses received a fresh start Saturday.
The Manhattan district attorney's office hosted its third "clean slate" warrant forgiveness event.
"I don't want someone coming banging at my door at night or something, saying, 'You got a warrant. You hopped the train. You are under arrest.' Something like that," Harlem resident Isaac Fagan said. "So it is just better to handle these things now before they get any bigger."
Early risers lined up at the Beth Gospel Assembly Church in East Harlem for a chance at a fresh start.
Dozens of New Yorkers from the five boroughs with low-level offenses, like littering or disorderly conduct, were able to go before a judge and possibly have their summons dismissed without fear of arrest.
"This is a great thing for the community, I think," one man said. "It's an easy way to get up and get out and clear their background, I guess."
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said there are currently about three million outstanding warrants in the city.
The event was meant to clear that backlog of summonses and focus on more serious crimes.
Organizers said the event also offered special resources for the homeless, many of whom have open warrants and were bussed in from the Wards Island shelter.
It is often difficult to reach these individuals because they do not have physical or email addresses.
For many who took part Saturday, the process took less than an hour, and they said having the warrants cleared was a weight off their shoulders.
"Vindicated, so I feel like this is really no big deal — not that I would do it anymore, because I quit drinking and smoking some seven years ago," participant Moses Baez said.
Organizers said the response to the "clean slate" event was so positive that they are already coordinating another one in the near-future.