After outcry, authorities will now slap criminal charges on three men who attacked cop on NY subway platform

NEW YORK —Three homeless vagrants caught on viral video attacking a cop on a lower Manhattan subway platform will now face criminal charges after an outcry, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

Two of the men who allegedly menaced NYPD Officer Syed Ali, an Army combat veteran, in the East Broadway station about 10:30 p.m. Sunday will be charged with rioting and obstructing governmental administration, while a third will face attempted assault charges.

The NYPD initially opted to charge them only with non-criminal local law violations —laying on the platform. On Tuesday night, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said they wouldn’t be prosecuted for that offense.

But following a meeting Wednesday between NYPD officials and prosecutors, the agencies opted to change course, the sources said. All five men involved in the attack are being sought.

In a statement, the NYPD said following a review they found the five men weren’t initially charged with a crime, but taken to the hospital because of extreme drunkenness. After their release, the men immediately returned to the station and were arrested for lying on the platform, a local law violation. Prosecutors declined to push for criminal charges.

“At the time of the arrest for the Local Law on Dec. 24, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was not made aware of the attempted assault of the police officer that took place the prior night on 12-23-18,” the NYPD said.

The eye-popping video of the encounter has been viewed more than four million times on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Vance spokesman Danny Frost pointed out that because police didn’t charge the men with attacking Ali, prosecutors couldn’t charge them with a crime. The office hasn’t prosecuted sleeping on a platform since March 2016 under a joint policy agreed on by the mayor and the police commissioner.

The decision infuriated the police unions. “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,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said Tuesday. “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.”

Ali encountered the men at the East Broadway station Sunday night when a woman approached him and said a group of homeless men were harassing her. When Ali told them to leave, they began menacing him.

Cellphone video captured Ali using a baton and his feet to keep the men at bay as they came at him, one by one. One of the men fell onto the tracks. Ali may have saved the man’s life by calling for MTA officials to cut power to the third rail —before he radioed for backup.

Police took the five men —Oseas Garcia, 32, Juan Munez, 27, Raul Ruiz, 29. Elisoe Alvarez Santos, 36 and Leobardo Alvarado, 31 —into custody, at first processing them as intoxicated emotionally disturbed people.

After the fight, one of the men mugged for a camera from his hospital bed, belting out a tune, video obtained by the Daily News shows. All five returned to the station after they were released without being charged.

Cops then rounded them up for lying on the platform, but they were released again when the DA declined to prosecute.

Ali’s cool-headed handling of the incident won praise from the NYPD Muslim Officers Society, of which he is a member.

Ali, an Army reservist, has been deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan and saw combat in Iraq in 2008. He made headlines last year when he spoke out in The New York Times, saying he felt he was racially profiled when he was detained for hours for extra screening at Kennedy Airport by Customs and Border Protection.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

Whatever snow may possibly fall in Red Deer on the weekend will melt when it hits the warm ground, says meteorologist Kyle Fougere with Environment and Climate Change Canada. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Weather expected to get warmer next week in Red Deer

It’s going to be a cold weekend, according to Environment Canada. Saturday… Continue reading

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Indigenous fishermen carry lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
Federal representative hopes to ease tensions in Nova Scotia lobster dispute

HALIFAX — The man tasked with lowering the temperature in a heated… Continue reading

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read