"$7,500 cash bail is really low, he can get that like that," snapped John Jay College Professor Michael Alcazar, who is a former NYPD detective for 30 years. "We caught him, we arrested him. We processed him, they release him, It’s just insanity."
The NYPD says the attack happened around 8 a.m. on November 29 on Amsterdam Avenue in Hamilton Heights.
Surveillance video shows the suspect, identified as Karim Azizi, wearing a black hoodie, pulling an orange baseball bat out of his pants and striking a 47-year-old man in the back of the head.
The victim fell to the ground. The video shows the attacker standing over the victim on the ground and yelling at him.
The victim suffered a laceration to his head as well as bruising. The police report of the incident said the victim also had blood across his face and head and swelling on the back of his head.
EMS took the victim to the hospital in stable condition.
The NYPD arrested Azizi on Wednesday. He was charged with attempted assault, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office says it requested that bail be set at $40,000 cash. The judge set bail at $7,500. Azizi walked out of court hours later after posting the bail.
Alcazar says, while most judges consider a variety of factors when determining bail, in New York, bail reform stipulates they cannot consider a defendant’s "dangerousness" or the threat they potentially pose to the community.
"This was supposedly not pre-meditated, just a little bit of word exchange, and he just happens to have a bat?" said Alcazar. "This is a dangerous person. You’re carrying around a weapon, like a bat a knife a gun, you’re a bad guy and you should stay in jail until the judge sees fit to impose whatever time you’re going to get."
Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Sewell have called for a "dangerousness" clause to be added to bail reform laws, giving judges more power to keep violent offenders behind bars and off the street. But advocates argue prejudice and bias influences who is considered dangerous.
"We can’t hold people in cages in modern-day slavery until they wait for trial, it’s just not, the system cannot work that way," Jason Goldman, Defense Attorney for Karim Azizi. "The court heard arguments on both sides and came to its decision. Whether it’s low or not they set an appropriate amount to ensure that he returns. And that’s what the law is and that’s how the system works. "
Azizi’s defense attorney argues, Azizi has no criminal history, is a father of three, and a lifelong New Yorker, factors those calling for a dangerousness clause, should keep in mind.
"99 percent of people who bail out," Goldman said, "they make every court date, they never commit another crime again, in their lives, especially while they’re out on bail."