Bajardi was charged with robbery because the victim allegedly had his camera taken by Bajardi. However, the police noted that the arrest was based largely on the alleged victim's testimony, and that it will be heard in court. It also may be downgraded to a disorderly persons offense, police said.
Bajardi has, for some time, been part of the political back-and-forth in Hoboken's heated politics, particularly during the recent school board campaigns. The election is being held today. Bajardi frequently is one of the few critics of the new administration of Mayor Dawn Zimmer at council meetings, and is said to be a strong supporter of Zimmer's political foe, Councilwoman Beth Mason.
Recently, a picture of Bajardi's head was put onto a graphic on another blog deriding him. (That blog is not the blog written by the alleged victim in the school board incident.)
Bajardi is a former TV and radio financial reporter.
The victim has said that the incident took place in front of several witness, two of whom have anonymously corroborated parts of his story to the Reporter.
The police put out a press release saying:
The complainant is a 46-year-old Hoboken resident who alleged that on April 12, 2010 while attending a Hoboken Board of Education candidate’s forum at Stevens College, Mr. Bajardi, [allegedly] knocked him to the ground, assaulted him, and took his digital camera. The victim further stated he had to follow Mr. Bajardi to obtain his camera back before Mr. Bajardi [allegedly] destroyed it. Based on the statement provided, Mr. Bajardi was charged with robbery.
Det. Lt. Mark Competello said: “ This is not your typical prototype robbery, however the facts as provided by the victim do sustain the charge initially. The decision to upgrade or downgrade a criminal charge rests with the Hudson County Prosecutor, not with law enforcement and I presume the charge will ultimately be downgraded to a Disorderly Person offense and be adjudicated in municipal court. There was no investigation by Hoboken Police pertaining to this incident; the charge was produced upon information and belief of the [victim]. In incidents of this nature police intervention is minimal and both parties versions of the incident are heard in court, where a judge will ultimately decide the outcome. It must be noted that Mr. Bajardi is to be afforded the presumption of innocence, until such time this matter is adjudicated in court. Moreover, as is typical in these types of incidents should Mr. Bajardi decide to file a criminal counter-complaint against [the victim], that also is within the law and shall be also taken by the Detective Bureau.”