Alleged homeless mugger should be released under Bragg’s new memo: lawyer

An attorney for the homeless man accused of mugging a good Samaritan in Manhattan fumed Thursday that his client was kept behind bars — saying prosecutors failed to “abide” by District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s progressive new policies by seeking bail in the case.

The lawyer, Brian Kennedy, had hoped his homeless client Xavier Israel was “entitled to presumptive release” from custody under Bragg’s directive nixing pre-trial detention in many cases.

But instead, prosecutors asked that Israel be held on $45,000 bail on second-degree robbery charges in the caught-on-video attack from Wednesday morning.

“I’m gonna ask you to refer to the new memorandum,” Kennedy begged Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Marisol Martinez Alonso, who ultimately remanded Israel on $25,000 bail.

Surveillance video caught Israel, 25, allegedly pummeling and then robbing the do-gooder, who had just covered the vagrant with his own jacket on Fifth Avenue.

Under the orders Bragg issued to staff on Jan. 3, his first full day in office, defendants have “a presumption of pre-trial non-incarceration in every case” except those that involve homicides and a handful of other major crimes.

Xavier Israel was arrested for assaulting and robbing a man who had offered him a coat.
William Miller

They include violent felonies in which victims suffer serious injuries through the use of guns and other deadly weapons, sex offenses, felony domestic violence and public corruption.

“If you’re gonna make that kind of statement in the memo then you should abide by it,” Kennedy fumed to The Post after the hearing.

“They didn’t, [they] argued for bail when he should have been presumptuously released.”

In requesting bail, prosecutors argued that Israel has ties to both Pennsylvania and Ohio, where he has prior arrests for “assault, drug possession, theft, domestic violence assault and has multiple convictions.”

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has recently come under fire for his progressive new policies.
G.N.Miller/NYPost

Prosecutors also noted that Israel was busted twice for assault just this month in New York.

In the first incident, he was accused of punching a man and a woman, both 18, as they sat on a rock in Central Park on Jan. 2 and shouting obscenities at them. Then on Jan. 8, he allegedly attacked a 49-year-old woman on 5th Avenue and East 84th Street after she saw him sleeping on the ground and tried to help.

He was charged with third-degree assault and given desk appearance tickets in both cases.

“This defendant has escalated behavior, out-of-state ties and no New York City address,” assistant district attorney Marcella Lupski said.

Surveillance video shows homeless man Xavier Israel allegedly beating and robbing good Samaritan Sang Trick who offered him a coat.
Surveillance video shows Xavier Israel allegedly beating and robbing the man who offered him a coat.

Kennedy told the judge that Israel is homeless.

“He is likely recovering from a mental illness and is impoverished,” he said. “He is possibly suffering from substance abuse.” 

Israel, who was spotted wearing his mask over his eyes, nose and mouth, ranted about his attorney during an outburst in court, prompting the judge to warn him: “Sir, if you continue to talk, we’re going to have to do this later.”

His next court date is scheduled for Friday.

Police transport Xavier Israel from Midtown South precinct in Manhattan after he was arrested for assaulting and robbing a man.
Police transport Xavier Israel from Midtown South precinct in Manhattan after he was arrested for assaulting and robbing a man.
William Miller

Surveillance video of the Wednesday incident allegedly shows Israel lying on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk as the man takes off his own coat and gently covers him with it.

Israel suddenly springs to his feet, grabbing the 58-year-old victim’s arm before shoving him to the ground, punching him repeatedly and rifling through the man’s pockets.

Israel allegedly fled with the good Samaritan’s wallet and $1,500 in cash, but was arrested a short time later on West 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, police sources said.

Israel’s rap sheet stretches to Ohio, where he was convicted in July 2018 of attempted grand theft auto. He pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors that saw him sentenced to two years probation.

Mayor Adams.
Mayor Adams called the good Samaritan “admirable.”
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Mayor Eric Adams, who has vowed to crack down on crime in the Big Apple, called the good Samaritan “admirable” on Thursday — but stopped short of condemning the violence.

Asked about his plan to deal with homelessness, Adams said the issue had been a “real crisis for a long time” and that ordeal involving Israel showed “people are in a lot of pain.”

“When you see someone attack someone that helps them, that is a signal that people are in pain, and we need to alleviate if not eradicate that pain that people are experiencing,” Adams said.

Additional reporting by Joe Marino, Sam Raskin and Emily Crane

Claudia has worked as a journalist for various print-based magazines for more than 5 years. She brings together substantial news pieces from various parts of the US and rest of the World.