A recently released video appears to show the tense moments last week when a New York City officer fought off five homeless people on a Manhattan subway platform.
According to the New York Daily News, a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance initially said the five men involved in Sunday’s scuffle with officer Syed Ali wouldn’t be prosecuted as police never charged them in connection with the attack. The spokesperson noted that the men were jailed for sleeping on the floor of a subway station, a rules violation they haven’t prosecuted since March 2016.
“When people are arrested for attacking officers, we prosecute them. These men were not arrested for attacking an officer,” Danny Frost told the outlet.
Footage shot from behind appears to show a man step over another man lying on the ground to confront Ali, who kicks him away. The officer is heard saying, “Stand back! I don’t want to hurt you!” as two other men close in on him. Ali kicks one of the men to the ground, only for the man to pop back up and throw punches at him. The officer is seen swinging his baton, possibly as an attempt to get the men to back off.
Though two men try to intervene, one of the suspects is spotted heading toward Ali before falling off the platform and landing on the tracks.
“There’s no telling how much damage these mopes would have done to that courageous police officer had he not been equipped to handle them. Had it gone the other way we might have had a seriously injured or dead police officer instead,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said to the Daily News.
“It’s wrong that they were not charged for attacking him. The District Attorney’s job is to prosecute crimes, not to act like a social advocate.”
Though multiple reports indicated that the men weren’t facing criminal charges for the scuffle, WABC reported that two of the men were charged with riot and obstructing governmental administration while one is facing attempted assault charges. Moreover, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed prosecutors who declined to try the men on the sleeping-related charges were unaware they were involved in the altercation with officer Ali.
The New York Post reported that several of the intoxicated men were hospitalized late Sunday but police arrested four of them sleeping on a subway platform Monday on suspicion of being involved in the officer-related assault.
The New York Police Department said all four men were being held at Transit District 4 headquarters as they face charges.
[Featured image: Twitter video screengrab]