Footage reveals details of Times Square brawl between migrants and 2 NYPD officers, one of them Indian American

A group of men assaulting two police officers Jan. 27, 2024. PHOTO: videograb

Manhattan’s District Attorney Alvin Bragg has announced the indictment of seven people who were involved in a brawl in Times Square in which migrants beat two police officers, an incident that sparked widespread controversy and a backlash over New York City’s policy toward migrants.

Newly released body-camera and surveillance camera footage also shows the lead-up to the brawl – and appears to contradict part of official accounts of what happened.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny, who appeared at a news conference alongside Bragg and New York Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday, (Feb. 8, 2024), said the Jan. 27 incident began after officers approached a group of individuals who were gathered outside a shelter, blocking a sidewalk.

All but one of the individuals complied. The one who didn’t, identified as Yohenry Brito, “turned around and got confrontational with the police officers” and “refused the lawful order,” Kenny said. “They attempted to place him under arrest, and the melee begins with the officers trying to take Mr. Brito into custody, and the next thing you know they’re being attacked by 13 other people. So, that’s how it started.”

Body-cam footage released by officials Thursday and shared by the Associated Press appears to show Brito, who is wearing a distinctive yellow jacket, walking away before the altercation. In the footage, Brito, who is pushing a stroller that appears to contain his belongings, seems to insult the two officers, comparing them to “Betty la fea” – or Ugly Betty, in reference to the Colombian telenovela that was made into a U.S. television show. An officer then grabs him and pushes him into a doorway.

The footage shows Brito is still for a number of seconds as he is held against the doorway. Then he protests and tries to get away before being tackled to the ground. Other men in the group then can be seen kicking and grabbing the officers.

Surveillance footage shared by local media also shows that, after being told to disperse, Brito paused briefly to adjust his belongings in the stroller but otherwise did not appear to be lingering in the area and was walking away before the initial altercation with officers.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

Adams described the attack on the police officers as “despicable,” saying at the Thursday news conference: “It was not only an attack on the individuals who wore the police uniform, but it was an attack on our symbol of justice.”

Five people arrested last week are among the seven indicted over the assault on the two officers, according to a press release from Bragg.

Brito and three of the others who were arrested – Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, Yorman Reveron and Kelvin Servita Arocha – face two counts of second-degree assault and a second-degree count of obstructing governmental administration.

Another individual, Wilson Juarez, exchanged jackets first with Brito, and then with another individual, and was charged with tampering with physical evidence, Bragg’s statement added.

The names of the two other people, who were indicted but not yet apprehended, remain under seal. Three other individuals are being sought, and another man who was initially charged with kicking a police officer has not been indicted while investigations continue.

The initial footage that showed the Jan. 27 incident sparked outrage.

“Get them all and send them back,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), told reporters. “You don’t touch our police officers. You don’t touch anybody.”

There has been growing rhetoric against migrants in New York, following the arrival of large numbers of them since spring 2022.

On Monday, Police Commissioner Edward Caban said that “in recent months, a wave of migrant crime has washed over our cities.”

Adams said at Thursday’s news conference that while Caban’s quotes on “migrants and asylum seekers” have been widely reported, “the overwhelming number – over 170,000 – they want to finish their next leg of their journey of pursuing the American Dream. But there is a small minority that’s participating in illegal behavior.”

“We are going to pursue anyone that commits a crime, if they are long-standing New Yorkers or if they are new arrivals, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Most categories of crime are down since the increased migrant arrivals began, according to the Associated Press.

Separately this week, a volunteer safety patrol group detained a man in Times Square whom they accused of being a shoplifting migrant. It later turned out he was a Spanish-speaking Bronx resident



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