Melissa Koenig, Daily Mail, June 22, 2021
An off-duty New York City police officer was beaten with a stick and punched by at least three attackers in the Bronx on Monday, amid a growing crime wave sweeping the nation.
The NYPD released video of the attack, one of dozens that have erupted on the streets of the Big Apple in recent weeks as violence spirals out of control.
Surveillance footage shows the 33-year-old off-duty officer talking to two men on a street corner at about 11.40am, apparently in a heated argument.
One of the men, wearing a blue tie-dyed shirt, then starts punching the victim, as the other, who is shirtless, grabs him.
They are later seen pushing and grabbing the victim, when a third assailant appears on camera and hits the victim with a blue stick.
Another shirtless man watched the attack, but did not appear to get involved.
As the officer tries to walk away from the scene, the three assailants are seen following him.
Witnesses said the officer got into a verbal dispute with the men prior to the physical altercation. They said they were unaware that the victim was a police officer, as he was wearing plain clothes.
The officer suffered pain to his head, back and knees, and was taken to a local hospital, where he is said to be conscious and alert, ABC 7 reports.
The NYPD is now looking for the suspects involved, telling ABC 7 there were at least six members of the group that attacked the victim, and they fled on foot.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told New York 1 News on Tuesday that the attack ‘is very much under investigation by the detective squad of the 41st precinct.’
He added that he is ‘having the Internal Affairs Bureau look into the entire incident to make sure there was nothing that shouldn’t be happening there with our officer,’ according to the Post.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1 (800) 577 – TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.
The assault comes amid a rise in crime throughout the city.
In May, crime rates increased 22 percent over last year, with a 46.7 percent increase in robbery and a 35.6 percent increase in grand larceny, according to NYPD data.
Felony assault saw a 20.5 percent increase, and were up eight percent for the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Shootings also increased to 173 in May 2021, compared to 100 in May 2020.
But the attacks also seem to be more brazen, with many occurring in public places, like parks and subways
Over the weekend, a woman was left bloody and bruised at Washington Square Park, as nonstop partying in the Greenwich Village park continues.
The woman was allegedly trying to run from a man, later identified as 42-year-old Jason McDermott, who was armed with a large knife and taser.
The partygoers, who have descended on the park for nightly raves in recent weeks, were sent into a panic and ran for safety from the suspect and knocked over a 43-year-old woman.
DailyMail.com photos show the woman sat on the ground with blood pouring from her face following the incident. A man was seen handcuffed and being led away by police.
Police said the woman was transported to Bellevue hospital in a stable condition with lacerations, contusions and abrasions.
The battle over Washington Square Park pitted area residents against partygoers last week, when protestors confronted police outside of an emergency meeting organized by the New York Police Department’s Sixth Precinct.
The meeting was met with dozens of protestors, who flocked by to park by nightfall. Police said on Friday that the would be on high-alert over the weekend.
Another major issue the residential and high-tourist area of Midtown Manhattan around around Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen, where thousands of homeless people were moved to hotels during the pandemic.
Eight Avenue between Penn Station and The Port Authority Bus Terminal has become a drug corridor and a crime hot spot.
The police precinct that includes Times Square and many of the hotels where the homeless have been living saw a 183 percent spike in felony assaults and 173 percent spike in robberies so far this year compared to 2020, according to NYPD data.
In May, Governor Andrew Cuomo called the rise in crime a ‘major problem’ and said unless the New York Police Department gets a handle on it, the city would become undesirable.
‘New Yorkers don’t feel safe, and they don’t feel safe because the crime rate is up,’ he said. ‘It’s not that they’re being neurotic or overly sensitive – they’re right.’