7 people indicted in connection with assault on NYPD officers outside migrant shelter,




CNN
 — 

Seven people have been indicted in connection with an assault last month on two New York City police officers near Times Square, and authorities still are working to identify three other people they say were involved, the Manhattan district attorney announced Thursday.

The indictments come in a case that’s drawn attention in part because of the immigration status of at least some of the defendants, and because four of those named in the indictment were released last week without bail – a move that state and city officials have criticized.

Yorman Reveron, Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, Kelvin Servita Arocha and Yohenry Brito are charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of second-degree obstructing governmental administration in connection with the January 27 incident, in which authorities say a group of people pushed, struggled with, grabbed or kicked two officers as the officers tried to arrest someone.

Brito and a fifth man, Wilson Juarez, are each charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence. Brito also is charged with a count of hindering prosecution in the third degree, and Juarez faces two counts of that charge.

A sixth and a seventh person also have been indicted, but their names are under seal because they have not been arrested and arraigned, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

The two officers sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene, police said.

CNN has sought comment from attorneys for the named suspects. Gomez-Izquiel’s attorney declined to comment. A spokesperson for The Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit law firm, said Reveron has no prior criminal convictions and urged the public to “reserve judgement while we conduct our investigation into this case.” An attorney for Juarez, Adrienne Doreen Edward, told CNN her client was originally charged with assault but prosecutors downgraded his charges after determining he “did not, in fact, assault a police officer.” Edward expects Juarez to appear in court next week, she said.

Investigators are looking for three other people who have not been identified but are seen in images from the scene, Bragg said in a news conference Thursday. Police have used surveillance video of the incident – publicly released last week – as well as body camera video, other images and interviews to help identify suspects, Bragg said.

NYC Mayor’s Office

District Attorney Alvin Bragg shows images of three people he said officials are working to identify. The first three people seen from the left have not been identified, he said.

“This assault, as it did to many of you, sickened me and outraged me. We all rely on members of the NYPD every day … to keep us safe and keep this the safest big city in America,” Bragg said in Thursday afternoon’s news conference.

Six people initially were arraigned on charges last week after they were arrested. Of them, only Brito has been held in jail since his arrest.

The other five – Reveron, Gomez-Izquiel, Arocha, Juarez, and a man who has not been indicted – were released without bail. The fifth man, who initially was arraigned on assault charges, “has not been indicted as the (prosecutor’s) office continues to investigate,” Bragg’s office said Thursday.

The release of suspects without bail was criticized by officials including New York’s governor and the city’s mayor. But Bragg has defended his office’s decision not to request bail, saying there was no evidence the men would flee.

Of the five men who were released without bail after being arraigned last week, four subsequently took a bus to a California town near the border with Mexico, a senior law enforcement official said. The district attorney last week said his office was investigating that report.

At least some of the people arrested in connection with the assault are migrants, a police source told CNN last week.

On Thursday, Bragg said that there has been “misinformation” about the suspects but said there has been no “evidence of flight.” One of the suspects appeared in Manhattan court on Wednesday for a separate matter, Bragg added.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told MSNBC on Tuesday the alleged assault was an “abhorrent act” and said the suspects should have been held in custody, adding “anyone who thinks they should have been let loose, I have a big disagreement with.”

At Thursday’s news conference, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that the “overwhelming number” of migrants and asylum seekers coming to the city are law-abiding and just “want to finish the next leg of their journey of pursuing the American dream.”

The incident began just after 8:30 p.m. on January 27, officials said Thursday. Authorities have released surveillance video of the confrontation.

A large group of men, including Brito, were standing in front of the shelter and blocking a street, “forcing people to walk around them,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph E. Kenny said at Thursday’s news conference.

Officers responded and directed the crowd to disperse because they were blocking the sidewalk. Everyone dispersed except for Brito, who became confrontational with police, Kenny said.

“He refused a lawful order. They attempted to place him under arrest, and the melee begins with the officers trying to take Mr. Brito into custody,” Kenny said.

When an officer “grasped Brito and pushed him against a building,” Brito “attempted to escape and struggled against the officers while he was held on the ground,” Bragg’s office said.

“And the next thing you know, they’re being attacked by 13 other people,” Kenny said.

Brito was “at the center of this assault” and was the person who was “wrestling with and doing other things with the officers on the ground,” Bragg said.

During the confrontation, Gomez-Izquiel grabbed an officer and kicked another officer, Bragg said.

Reveron is accused of grabbing, pulling and throwing two officers to the ground, according to the district attorney, who showed still pictures taken from video footage of the scene.

Neither Juarez nor Arocha touched any officers, but Arocha is accused of kicking an officer’s radio, Bragg’s office said. Juarez, who prosecutors say watched the assault from a distance, gave his jacket to Brito and took another person’s jacket, Bragg said. Officials believe the suspects changed clothes on purpose to make it harder for authorities to identify them, Bragg said.

Of the three people who have yet to be identified and arrested, one of them “kicked an officer’s head multiple times and grabbed and pulled the collar of another officer,” while another kicked an officer in the head, Bragg said.

A third unidentified person kicked an officer, Bragg said.

“This was a despicable act,” Adams, the mayor, said Thursday. “It was not only an attack on the individuals who wore the police uniform, but it was an attack on our symbol of justice.”

CNN’s Rob Frehse contributed to this report.



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