Bail tripled for woman charged with assault, local clergymen call judge's actions unjust

Posted at: 09/20/2013 12:59 PM | Updated at: 09/20/2013 7:11 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion | WHEC.com

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Unjust and borderline racist -- that's what local clergymen are calling a judge's decision to triple the amount of bail for Brenda Hardaway.
 
Hardaway is the Rochester woman in a YouTube video being forced to the ground by police. It happened in August on Selye Terrace.
 
Police responded to a domestic dispute there and when they tried to arrest Hardaway's brother, officers say Hardaway threatened them with pepper spray. The officer eventually took her to the ground.
 
Hardaway was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Bail was set at $7,500 and then on Tuesday, Judge Francis Affronti increased her bail to $25,000.
 
According to a local attorney, changes in bail can happen from time to time but local clergymen believe Hardaway isn't the one who should be facing charges. 
 
Reverend Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry said, “Why is it that he gets away with assaulting her and throwing her to the ground. I mean, really wrestling with this pregnant woman -- he got away with what? A slap on the wrist? No one has called this officer into account.”
 
The clergymen gathered Friday morning to discuss the increased bail and ways to move forward. The men say they are initiating a petition calling for the Department of Justice to investigate. They also want the Rochester City Council to investigate and they plan to file a complaint against Judge Affronti. 
 
Today, we spoke with a local attorney who is also a former assistant district attorney. He says Judge Affronti may have more information than the judge who originally set bail. He says the increase is part of procedure and can be based on a lot of factors.
 
Attorney David Spoto said, “Some of the things they may look at is their connection with the community, their prior criminal record and whether their past if they've been a defendant, If they came to court in the past-whether or not they have bench warrants, Also what a court would like at is the likely hood of success that they will have in a prosecution.”
 
The clergymen say they are planning a demonstration and will start filing the complaints as soon as possible.
 
As for the officer involved, we are told he will remain on duty. The investigation is still ongoing.

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