Police Investigate Televised Times Square Attack by Guardian Angels

The New York police and the Manhattan district attorney said on Thursday that they were investigating a fracas in Times Square that broke out after members of an anti-crime organization accosted a man their leader had incorrectly identified as a migrant.

Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, was being interviewed live on Fox News when members of his group standing behind him moved out of view.

“Our guys have just taken down one of the migrant guys,” Mr. Sliwa told the host, Sean Hannity. The camera panned to show several Guardian Angels surrounding a man, then pulling him to the ground. Mr. Sliwa then accused the man of shoplifting — wrongly, according to the police.

“We gave him a little pain compliance,” Mr. Sliwa said. “His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations.”

The man, who has not been named, turned out to be a Bronx resident. The incident has set off fears of vigilantism against immigrants — or anyone who might be identified as one — in New York.

Officials including District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have been under intense pressure from all sides of the immigration debate. The violence televised on Fox came after video emerged showing a Jan. 27 assault in which several men, later identified by a law enforcement official as migrants, kicked and punched a police officer and lieutenant in Times Square.

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