Monday, June 17, 2024

Police chief promises ‘appropriate measures’ will be in place as suspects in NYPD officer attack head to California

The police chief of a California city on the Mexican border says “appropriate measures” will be taken to address the anticipated arrival of four migrant men charged with felonies in an attack on two New York Police Department officers.

The men were headed by bus to Calexico, California, after they were released from custody, a senior law enforcement official said.

On Friday, interim Calexico Police Chief Armando Orozco issued a statement about the men’s travel plans. He assured residents that his department is “working diligently to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to address the situation and to maintain the safety and security.”

“The Calexico Police Department is deeply saddened by the incident that resulted in the injury of our fellow officers from the NYPD. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we wish them a swift and complete recovery,” the interim chief wrote in the statement. “Violence against law enforcement officers is an affront to the principles of justice and the safety of our communities.”

“We understand the concerns raised by the community regarding this incident, and we want to assure our residents and visitors that their safety is our top priority,” Orozco added.

The interim chief said his department is “actively cooperating with relevant authorities” to gather more information about the New York City incident and “to determine the appropriate course of action.”

The four men were among at least seven people arrested, CNN previously reported. The four were released from custody without bail and given bus tickets by a faith-based charity, the senior law enforcement official told CNN.

The altercation erupted after officers tried to break up a “disorderly group” outside a migrant shelter near Times Square, police said.

When the officers tried to take a person into custody, “multiple unidentified individuals repeatedly kicked and punched the officers in the head and body” and later fled on foot, police said. The officers had minor injuries and were treated on the scene, police said.

The Manhattan district attorney announced Saturday that his office is preparing to present charges to a grand jury related to the altercation.

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in the news release that while his office prepares to present charges to a grand jury on Tuesday, it is continuing to work with law enforcement “to bring everyone responsible for these heinous attacks to justice.”

“It is clear from the video and other evidence that some of the most culpable individuals have not yet been identified or arrested, and we are working hand in hand with the NYPD to find and hold them accountable for their despicable acts,” Bragg added.

The incident follows an increase in migrants and asylum-seekers arriving at the US-Mexican border, many of whom have made their way to major cities either on their own or on buses chartered by Texas. Approximately 67,000 migrants are under New York City’s care, among more than 173,900 who’ve arrived in the city since spring 2022, a City Hall spokesperson told CNN on Thursday.

The men who were released without bail are expected back in court in February and March. If they miss those court dates, arrest warrants will likely be issued for them.

Investigators say even though the defendants allegedly used false names with the charity, “we have no legal authority to chase them or attempt to stop them” because the Manhattan district attorney did not request bail and the defendants were released on their own recognizance, the law enforcement source said.

“We have to assume they intend to return to court, which, given the circumstances around their departure, seems unlikely,” the source added.

On Friday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defended his office’s decision.

“While the video is shocking and disturbing, to secure convictions in a court of law it is essential that we conclusively identify each defendant and specify each person’s participation in the incident,” Bragg said.

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