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by Peter Moskos

January 7, 2016

How many strikes do you get?

I'm not for "three strikes and you're out." I am, however, supportive of 32 strikes and you're out (I'd even go down to 20). Kari Bazemore, who has a history of random violence, slashed a woman walking down 23rd St at 6AM. There's something particularly chilling about the pointless randomness of it. No argument. No robbery. No conflict. Just cut and run. This one was caught on video.

Here's an interview with the latest victim. Good for her for facing the camera, scar and all.

Thirty-two priors and that doesn't begin to could all the sh*t he's done without being arrested? He's a one-man crime wave. His last arrest was on December 30 (yes, one week prior), when he randomly punched a woman on East 8th Street. He was also arrest in February 2015 for grand larceny and in 2013 for "forcible touching."

Does the guy need help? Obviously. But what kind and how do we give it to him? If he hasn't been able to get needed help by now, what makes anybody think the 33rd arrest is going to be charm? He simply needs to be kept off the streets.


Adrian said...

"After the punching incident, the Manhattan District Attorney's office requested he be held on $1,000 bail, but Bazemore was released by Judge Laurie Peterson without bail."

So Judge Peterson releases on his own recognizance a man with (at that time) 31 prior arrests who is accused of random violence.

Peterson's term runs out in 2024...

Peter Moskos said...

"Priors" means arrests. Conviction is much higher standard and a different game. From a police standpoint, it's borderline irrelevant. I'm going with the police operative assumption of guilt here. Yes, I do think he was guilty each and every time. Or at least 30 out of 32. And that doesn't begin to add dozens and probably hundreds of offenses he committed that weren't reported or didn't result in an arrest. I mean, even a dumb mentally-ill criminal gets away most of the time.

Take the punching incident, once guilt is established, a judge can and should take priors into account. I don't know his rap sheet. Maybe that was the first sign of violence... But I doubt it.

David Woycechowsky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter Moskos said...


I'm not talking about "deciding" criminal guilt. There's something odd about conflating court conviction with reality. I'm talking about what actually happened. (You know, it's even possible for police to arrest somebody without probably cause and have that person guilty.) My point is I'm not talking about convictions at all. Nor do I want to on this post. Nobody gets arrested 3 dozen times by mistake.

Sometimes I think too many Americans actually believe that our constitution and system of justice make inherent real-world sense. There are countries, civilized fair ones, that don't use reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Does that make everybody innocent?

I had this weird talk with a reporter a while back about a guy in S.F. who was shot by police.
It went something like this:
Me: "Wait, he had just *cut* somebody?"
Her: "Allegedly."
"What do you mean allegedly? You just said he used the knife. Did he stab somebody or not?!"
"Well, allegedly. But he wasn't convicted."
"Are you serious? Are police supposed to wait till conviction before a guy can be dangerous?"
"Well, we can't be certain he did."
"But did he cut somebody and did police on the scene know that."
"Well then it's not an alleged stabbing. It's a stabbing. What matters to the cop facing a guy with knife is what he just did, not what might happen in court. It's not alleged if it actually happened!"

Peter Moskos said...

Comment pet peeve: A post about a guy who commits acts of violence against random people devolving into a discussion about police behavior and probable cause.

aNanyMouse said...

Shit like this (no bail required) is part of why so many of us get so bitter; I’m so glad I didn’t have direct experience of it. Even if he was innocent of 90% of the priors, unless the remaining 10% of (“convictable”) priors were (only) about drugs or booze, that leaves at least 3 serious crimes upon (presumably) innocent citizens.
You know, one major reason for having a legal system, is to give victims hope for justice, instead of them having no choice but to take the law into their own hands.

David Woycechowsky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John said...

It's shocking that there are people like him that are still roaming the streets waiting to commit their next violent act. While I am a big advocate of punishing drug offenders, they usually are not that violent. Three strikes and they're out sends them to prison and they just take up space. People like this guy should not be able to see the outside of a cell. Obviously he can't be changed with 32 priors. The government needs to see what is really happening and take action to change this.

Student Assignment said...

Kari Bazemore should have been in jail. His actions were unacceptable. This man has a very long rap sheet and even though his actions aren't serious he still has 32 priors and for the system to just continue to look past that is also unacceptable. The system has failed to protect the citizens from someone who is known to hurt people. Obviously being arrested doesn't phase this man so lock him up and throw away the key. We could always implement the punishment of flogging and maybe if he was in the amount of pain flogging causes he wouldn't be interested in hurting anyone anymore. He would also have scars just like he is giving many of his victims only his wouldn't be visible.

Taylor Gordy Prescott said...

Honestly it sounds like the best thing to do with him is lock him away for the safety of others because leaving him out in the streets or even giving him the opportunity to return to the streets he has proven 32 prior times that he will commit crimes. The fact that he does it with zero motive and repeatedly shows he has no remorse, no self control, and zero desire to change. He is clearly not human so why treat him like one put him in a box and keep him there let the boredom drive him mad.

Peter Moskos said...

Because we're better than that. Because he actually is a human being. And we're better than that.

Mariah R, said...

Its sad that he actually had the opportunity to do so many stupid acts like such and not be placed in some place that will help or completely punish him!