Surveillance video shows an NYPD officer allegedly getting attacked from behind in the Bronx by a man who has been violent toward police before — but he was freed without bail just a day later.
The unprovoked and seemingly random attack was captured on video from two angles, security camera and police body camera videos. Investigators said that the recordings show the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Isus Thompson, walk up to a police officer on East 194th Street Sunday and strike him from behind.
The weapon used in the alleged assault was a backpack, but it's what was inside that matters more: A criminal complain states that it contained a "safe constructed of metal."
Despite the glaring evidence and the violent attack that send the 30-year-old officer to the hospital, Thompson was back on the street just a day later on Monday. He was released without bail.
"That's not acceptable," said Rev. Loren Russell, a Bronx activist who is working to bridge the gap between police and the community. He said that Thompson should still be in jail.
"You can't let everyone go free if they commit a violent crime," Russel told NBC New York.
Thompson's release is particularly shocking given his criminal history. Court records show that he was convicted of stabbing an NYPD officer in 2008. He served two years of his five-year sentence before getting paroled.
"An obviously frustrated NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted that "late last night, this violent criminal was released without bail. Do have to wait for him to kill someone before this is taken seriously?"
Russel said it's not just police who suffer from repeat offenders are put back on the streets.
"The violence in our community is way up," he said. "If I'm the one who's the victim of this and I realize the person who victimized me was incarcerated but released, then that makes me very angry."
Sources told NBC New York that despite admitting to striking the officer, and despite facing several assault charges, Thompson was allowed to leave court under supervised release. The Bronx district attorney's office did not immediately respond to to questions as to why bail was not requested.
The officer hurt in the attack suffered injuries to his head and back.
An attorney for Thompson could not be reached.