An 18-year-old from Utica was released on appearance tickets despite allegedly getting into a fight with and punching a Utica Police Officer several times.

Cops said they attempted to make a citizen stop and speak with three young men who were walking on Park Avenue around 2:30 Friday morning. One fled on foot and while speaking with the others, a second tried to run off, officers said. When one of the officers grabbed Jamare Blanco by the arm for trying to flee, police say Blanco assumed a fighting stance and started swinging, punching the officer in the head several times.

The officer deployed a taser and quickly ended the fight, however Blanco would be released a short time later. The teen was arrested and charged with harassment, resisting arrest and a New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Violation for walking in the road. Under current NY law, none of these offenses are eligible to hold a suspect in jail or set bail. So cops took Blanco for a ride downtown, snapped the above photo, filled out some paperwork and sent him on his way.

It might sound odd that you can punch a police officer several times and be released bail free a short time later, but Utica Police tell WIBX this is a consequence of New York's bail reform laws.

Had the officer sustained an 'injury', like a broken bone or had received medical attention, Blanco could have been charged with assault, which he could be held for, UPD said. But without, police can only charge harassment, Utica Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Mike Curley told WIBX.

Meanwhile, the charge of resisting arrest used to be one that resulted in a suspect being held on bail, but New York's bail reform laws has changed that, so Blanco was set free.

In a separate incident, a man was arrested for an altercation with a UPD officer, and was charged with assault as the officer wound up suffering a broken finger.

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