While most of us were getting ready for Christmas, NYPD officer Syed Ali was working a transit beat in the NY subways Sunday night. This particular night, five intoxicated men were harassing a woman on the platform of the East Broadway station. NBC 4 New York describes what happened next:
The officer approached the men, who were visibly intoxicated, and asked them to leave the station, police said. The men refused to leave and became combative, and started tussling with the cop, cellphone video taken by a bystander shows.
“Stand back. I don’t want to hurt you,” the cop shouted repeatedly at the men as they approached him, waving his baton at them.
The officer kicked one of the men to fend him off, and another tried to go after the officer — but ended up tumbling onto the tracks, the video showed. Police said the officer requested power be turned off to the tracks and for backup to arrive.
Video of the incident was posted on Twitter and has been viewed nearly five million times.
Officer Ali, who is a combat veteran, was praised by the Mayor and various NY authorities for dealing with the drunks without escalating the situation.
What extraordinary professionalism and bravery by NYPD Officer Syed Ali. Attacking our men and women in uniform won’t ever be tolerated. The NYPD is upping its presence at this station and others to ensure officers have the support they need. https://t.co/rWEAf48DEk
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 25, 2018
I visited @NYPDTransit Task Force in North Brooklyn to thank Officer Syed Ali for his quick action to defend civilians and himself against five individuals attacking on a subway platform. Officer Ali showed restraint & discipline in how he de-escalated the situation. pic.twitter.com/xLe996P5ti
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) December 25, 2018
But some were upset that the men who harassed the subway rider and tried to fight a police officer were released and won’t be charged with anything. From the NY Daily News:
As of Tuesday night, none of the men were to be prosecuted, said Danny Frost, a spokesman for Manhattan DA Cy Vance…
“They were arrested for sleeping on the floor of a subway station – a rules violation, not a crime. We have not prosecuted this violation since March 2016 under a policy jointly established with the Police Commissioner and Mayor.”…
The decision not to charge the men outraged Officer Ali’s union, which placed the blame on the District Attorney’s office.
“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,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
Not only did the drunks not get charged, but they also returned to the same station hours later where, presumably they will be getting drunk again and creating trouble for other people riding the subway and for officers tasked with protecting them.