The week was filled with tension as New York leaders retreated to their political corners following a viral video showing an assault on two police officers in crowded Times Square. The incident added to the drama surrounding the event.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis highlighted the incident on January 27 where officers were assaulted by a group of men seeking asylum. She used this incident to make a case for New York City to assist federal immigration officials in the deportation process.
During a press conference on Monday, Malliotakis, the only Republican representing New York City in the House, emphasized the importance of supporting police officers, ensuring the safety of the city, and deporting individuals who are committing crimes against the citizens. She made these remarks just steps away from the location of the recent attack.
In the days leading up to the Feb. 13 special election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, conservatives have seized on the incident involving a group of men kicking at cops on the ground. They have used it as a political rallying cry, with the GOP candidate in the bellwether race depicting her Democratic opponent as weak on the border.
Republicans are criticizing Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his decision not to seek bail for some of the men arrested in the case. Bragg has stated that the evidence presented was not sufficient, and Adams has come to his defense.
Ken Genalo, director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York City field office, stood beside Malliotakis and several conservative City Council members. He expressed his concerns about the lack of cooperation between the NYPD, law enforcement partners, and ICE due to city policies and state law. Genalo pointed out the challenges that ICE faces in gathering intelligence, stating that they often rely on the media to learn about cases.
Removing sanctuary city policies would not necessarily result in the deportation of the men accused of the assaults. Typically, a criminal charge alone is not sufficient for an immigration judge to order deportation.
According to Malliotakis, the NYPD is unable to take action, but she argues that the incident captured on camera in Times Square is just one example of the many crimes committed by migrants.
According to her, the NYPD did not honor any of the 109 detainer requests issued by ICE in the past fiscal year due to the implementation of sanctuary city policies.
During a media availability on Monday, Adams responded to Malliotakis’ press conference by asserting that the vast majority of the 175,000 migrants who have received assistance in New York City are simply pursuing the American dream. He further emphasized that ICE has the responsibility to carry out their duties when it comes to dealing with individuals who pose a threat to public safety.
However, Adams’ own statements appeared to contradict those made by his police commissioner during a later press conference.
“In our city, we have witnessed a surge in migrant crime in recent months,” stated NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban. He emphasized that it is important to note that the individuals responsible for these crimes do not reflect the majority of people who come to New York with the intention of improving their lives.
In 2014, a law was enacted in New York that placed limitations on the city’s collaboration with ICE, except for specific situations that pose a public safety risk. These policies, along with other laws and orders implemented over the years, form the foundation of New York’s sanctuary city policies. When questioned about his stance on changing this policy, Adams emphasized the City Council’s responsibility in creating laws.
In regards to criminal justice policies, he expressed his concerns, emphasizing that individuals who repeatedly commit felonies or dangerous crimes should not be allowed to reside in our city if they are found guilty.
Bragg is scheduled to present the evidence regarding the assault on the police officers to a grand jury on Tuesday. As per Bragg’s assessment, some of the seven men who were initially arrested have been released while awaiting trial. This decision was made due to insufficient evidence to support the accusation of committing serious crimes that would warrant the request for bail.
According to a spokesperson for Bragg’s office, around 10 men were engaged in the altercation. The exact reason for the fight is still unclear, and there are individuals who have not been identified or apprehended yet.
According to Adams, ensuring the accuracy of evidence is crucial in holding someone accountable for their actions. He emphasized the importance of not making any mistakes in this case, praising Bragg for his meticulousness and thoroughness.