Axman Seen Terrorizing NYC McDonald's Is Released Without Bail Then Quickly Arrested Again ... Want to Guess What the Judge Did Next?


In September, 31-year-old Michael Palacios was arrested after being caught on video going on a rampage with an ax inside a New York City McDonald’s.

There’s no doubt that he was the man in the video. In fact, he admitted as much to the New York Post, claiming he was “not unhinged” or “psychotic,” just defending himself.

“I just did what anybody would do when being pummeled. What would you do? Take out your phone and call 911?” he said.


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While the clip isn’t dispositive of Palacios’ guilt or innocence, it doesn’t exactly look like he was being dovishly peaceful, just munching on a Big Mac, when he was set upon by three random guys and did what any of us would do in the situation: pull the ax that most of us carry in our backpacks out and start chopping at some tables and glass barriers.

After all, he pointed the weapon at a petrified woman who wasn’t even involved in the initial altercation, which isn’t necessarily the hallmark of hinged-ness.

Nevertheless, because this is New York City, Palacios was released without bail. What happened next could never have been predicted, the same way you could never presage that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning or foretell the reappearance of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano: Palacios was arrested, again.

Should judges be free to set bail however they see fit?

And released without bail by the judge. Again.

According to the New York Post, the Bronx man “was approached by police around 5:40 p.m. Sunday after he was seen spraying graffiti behind 69 Second Ave. in Gowanus, according to police sources.

“The 31-year-old messenger ran and snatched a bicycle from in front of a coffee shop and tried to ride off before he was detained, sources said.”

While he may be a McDonald’s patron, Palacios has expensive tastes; the bike he pilfered was worth $3,500. Naturally, it was damaged in the chase, because why not?

When police finally caught up to him, he was found in possession of graffiti paraphernalia. Police also say he was responsible for another graffiti incident in June, this one at the Broad Channel subway station in Queens.

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Just so we’re clear, Palacios is a Bronx man who was arrested for a pulling an ax and running amok in a Manhattan McDonald’s. He was arrested for evading police on a stolen bike in Brooklyn and also charged with a graffiti incident in Queens. So far, we’ve hit four out of New York City’s five boroughs.

Has anyone with the New York Police Department looked into whether there are any unsolved cases in Staten Island involving an ax and/or a can of spray paint?

For Sunday’s incident, Palacios faces charges of grand larceny, criminal mischief, possession of stolen property, making graffiti and possession of graffiti instruments. He was also charged with making graffiti and possession of graffiti instruments for the June affair.

But again, he was out on the street without bail — and it’s not exactly like the judge likely had much discretion. Earlier in September, the Post ran a lengthy exposé on the training jurists in New York state receive involving the state’s liberal bail laws, which don’t allow the court to take into account whether or not the individual is a risk to the community. Instead, judges can only consider whether bail will ensure individuals will show up in court.

The 2019 bail reform act made New York the only state in the nation to use this metric.

One judge told the Post that the state’s bail-reform act was “insane.”

“Our hands are tied,” the judge said, adding that allowing “judicial discretion will ensure there’s a true evaluation that the person is a risk of flight and perhaps an assessment of the risk they pose to the community.”

Regarding that last note, here are some other choice quotes from Palacio when he talked to the Post after his first arrest. On why he didn’t use the ax on the three men in the video: “It’s not luck that they didn’t get chopped up. I didn’t chop them up because I didn’t want to,” he said.

Not because assault with a deadly weapon is wrong, he just didn’t feel like it at the moment. Right.

As for why he pointed the ax at the woman, he said he was just teaching her an important lesson: “Don’t be hanging out with punk-a** dudes because they’re going to get you into problems like this,” Palacios claimed he said during their exchange.

“And after that, I shook her hand,” he added. “I understood it was a very intense situation, a lot of drama going on.”

Not a danger. Not psychotic. Totally hinged.

You can expect this pattern to repeat itself. After all, this is just two arrests. In February of 2020, a man named Charles Barry made the headlines after being released without bail following his 139th arrest. No, I didn’t accidentally sneak an errant digit in there.

“Bail reform, it’s lit!” Barry told reporters. “It’s the Democrats! The Democrats know me and the Republicans fear me. You can’t touch me! I can’t be stopped!”

Barry, a serial subway thief, made these remarks mere hours after he appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News. The headline? “Menace 2 Society: Career criminal can’t be derailed despite 138 busts; Freed after five new raps thanks to bail reform.”

Less than a day later, he batted number 139. Amazing how quickly things can change while remaining exactly the same.

“I’m famous! I take $200, $300 a day of your money, cracker! You can’t stop me!” Barry told a reporter as he was led out of an NYPD station.

It’s unclear what the arrest tally is today, but the last report — from December of 2020 — said Barry was then up to roughly 160 arrests.

New York voters, you have a choice this November. If you want to see Michael Palacios do this 158 more times and still get released without bail, vote for Gov. Kathy Hochul and her Democrat brethren. If you think maybe there ought to be a sum of money that helps to ensure a man who busted up a McDonald’s with an ax appears in court and doesn’t re-offend while he’s out in the community, you might want to look at other options.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture