Seven people were indicted in New York for their alleged role in an attack against two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers last month, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Thursday.
The Jan. 27 attack gained national attention late last month after the New York City Police Department posted a video in which a group of individuals are seen kicking and punching two police officers as they tried to make an arrest in Times Square.
Bragg, in a press conference Thursday, confirmed a total of seven individuals are facing charges, five of whom were arrested last week. Two of the defendants have not been apprehended and their names will not be released until their arraignment, the district attorney noted.
“The assault on our police officers in Times Square outraged and sickened me. We have absolutely no tolerance for this despicable behavior,” Bragg said Thursday, adding later that the investigation is being treated with the “utmost seriousness.”
According to the New York Police Department, the incident broke out after two officers ordered a group of men to disperse from a sidewalk in front of a midtown Manhattan shelter. Yohenry Brito then “got confrontational,” leading to a scuffle with police and some of the other defendants, police added.
Brito fled the scene and was arrested four days later. He is being held on Rikers Island.
Three of the defendants arrested at the scene included Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel and Yorman Reveron, who are both accused of either grabbing, kicking or throwing the officers to the ground during the scuffle, prosecutors said.
Defendants Kelvin Servita Arocha and Wilson Juarez are not accused of hitting the officers, though Arocha kicked a police radio and Juarez “watched from a distance” and gave his jacket to Brito, prosecutors noted. Both were also arrested at the scene.
Out of the five named defendants, all but Juarez, are facing two counts of assault in the second degree and one count of governmental administration in the second degree. Juarez has since been charged with tampering with physical evidence, according to the indictment.
Bragg on Thursday also sought to clarify suggestions the four defendants were no longer in the city and taken into custody by federal authorities. The Manhattan district attorney’s office was told by Homeland Security Tuesday that the individuals taken into custody by the federal agency were not the same individuals involved in the New York investigation, Bragg said.
Bragg came under scrutiny last week after five of the six arrested suspects were released with no bail last week.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday called the incident a “despicable attack” and warned against biases after some media reports suggested the defendants are migrants and noted the “overwhelming number of migrants and asylum seekers are law-abiding.”
Neither Bragg nor Adams made clear if the defendants are immigrants, and The Hill reached out to their offices for further comment.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenney weighed in on the circulating questions and told reporters Thursday, “Just as far as whether or not they’re asylum seekers, we don’t really dive into that.”
“We’re looking at them not as asylum seekers, not as somebody here looking to make a new life for themselves. If they’re here and they commit crimes, they’re going to be treated as criminals, and that’s what we’re looking at in this case,” he added.
City, state and federal lawmakers have faced growing pressure over the influx of migrants at the border, many of whom have ended up in major cities like the Big Apple. Border security came to the forefront of focus on Capitol Hill this week after a long-fought border security package collapsed amid GOP opposition.
The border component was part of a larger national security supplemental package, which included emergency foreign aid to assist Ukraine and Israel’s war efforts and increase security around the Indo-Pacific. Senate Republicans have repeatedly insisted further aid for war-torn Ukraine be tied with border security reform but were not satisfied with the details of the deal.
Adams is one of the multiple mayors who have sounded the alarm over the past year, calling for more resources to help the city deal with the migrant influx. New York City has been under a state of emergency since October 2022 in the wake of the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”
Updated at 8:05 p.m.