NEW YORK (PIX11) — A man accused of swinging an ax in a New York City McDonald’s was released on his own recognizance after his arraignment, court officials said Sunday. It all started when the NYPD got a call around 2:25 a.m. about a fight on the Lower East Side.
Witnesses told police that Micahel Palacios, 31, had a physical fight with three unknown men. A video with tens of millions of views on Twitter shows Palacios going into his backpack and removing an ax. Then, officials said he started swinging it, breaking tables, shattering glass, and threatening people.
Police reported that they found a knife in his backpack. Palacios was arrested on the following charges:
- Criminal mischief
- Three counts of menacing
- Two counts of criminal possession of a weapon
Police said that no injuries were reported by the victims. The video shows Palacios being repeatedly punched.
The viral video shows over two minutes of back-and-forth, threats, and assault. “Bro, please, back up,” someone in the video said when the ax was pulled out.
The release without bail was slammed by Rep. Lee Zeldin, who’s running as the Republican candidate for governor in New York. “This guy hacked up tables and walls at a McDonald’s, swung his hatchet wildly at customers, and got released before his fries got cold,” Zeldin said, calling for a special session of the legislature to relitigate years-old, rolled-back bail reforms. “Cashless bail in New York must be repealed ASAP!”
Bail reforms in New York limit pre-trial incarceration, traditionally guided by financial penalties that suspects with money can easily pay—meaning that poor people are disproportionately jailed without being convicted of any crimes. Such reforms usually mean that most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges long longer come with time behind bars, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of New York (NYCLU).
“Those accused of these crimes are either freed without restrictions while their case plays out, or released under certain conditions like electronic monitoring,” stated the NYCLU.
Brooklyn-based advocacy group the Center for Community Alternatives said that Zeldin “ignores the evidence and seeks to restore regressive laws that treat the wealthy differently from the poor. In demanding the repeal of our modest bail reform laws, Rep. Zeldin is effectively calling for indefinite pretrial detention, which flies in the face of the presumption of innocence and will disparately impact Black, brown, and poor New Yorkers.”