NATIONAL NEWS

On live TV, Guardian Angels rough up a man in Times Square then misidentify him as a ‘migrant’

Feb 7, 2024, 3:29 PM | Updated: 5:20 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Members of the Guardian Angels roughed up a man during a live interview on Fox News Tuesday night, then misidentified him as a “migrant” in a primetime segment meant to highlight disorder and crime caused by new arrivals to New York City.

The bizarre altercation played out as Curtis Sliwa, founder of the anti-crime patrol group, was speaking to Sean Hannity from Times Square, flanked by volunteers in their signature red berets and bomber jackets.

As some Guardian Angels began leaving Sliwa’s side to attend to an off-screen disturbance, the camera panned to show them confronting an unidentified man, pushing him to the sidewalk and placing him in a headlock.

“In fact, our guys have just taken down one of the migrant guys on the corner of 42nd and 7th where all of this has taken place,” Sliwa told Hannity. Throwing his hands in the air, he added: “They’ve taken over!”

The man is not a migrant, but a New Yorker from the Bronx, police said Wednesday afternoon. Though Sliwa claimed the man had been caught shoplifting, police provided no evidence to support the allegation.

According to a New York Police Department spokesperson, officers arrived to find a man “detained by bystanders” after he allegedly tried to disrupt a live interview. Police said the man was issued a disorderly conduct summons because he was acting in a loud and threatening manner on a public sidewalk.

The spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether any members of the Guardian Angels were under investigation for their role in the altercation.

The incident came after a brawl in Times Square between police and a group of migrants generated waves of backlash against the city’s asylum seekers. Some advocates for immigrants have blamed local officials and the police department for stoking fears of a “migrant crime wave,” even as the city’s crime rate remains largely unchanged since the arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sliwa said he had believed the man was a migrant because he was “speaking Spanish” and because other Guardian Angels had encountered him with other Spanish speakers on previous patrols.

“He was put down so he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else,” Sliwa said.

The Guardian Angels have been a fixture in New York since 1979 when Sliwa founded them to patrol the streets and subways during the city’s high-crime days. They have drawn criticism in the past, including allegations of targeting people of color. Sliwa also admitted years ago that he had fabricated some of the group’s early exploits for publicity.

City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, who represents the area around Times Square, said the group should not be detaining people without legal authority.

“Vigilantism is not the answer,” Bottcher said. “When civilians take justice into their own hands it can escalate conflicts and lead to even more dangerous situations putting everyone at risk.”

In May, a U.S. Marine veteran riding the subway placed a fellow passenger in a chokehold to stop him from yelling at people on the train. The subdued man, former subway performer Jordan Neely, died. The ex-Marine, Daniel Penny, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

National News

Associated Press

Wildfire north of Los Angeles spreads as authorities issue evacuation orders

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — Authorities issued evacuation orders Saturday as a wildfire in Los Angeles County spread thousands of acres close to a major highway and threatened nearby structures, officials said. The blaze that is being called the Post Fire burned more than 3,600 acres (5.6 square miles or 14.5 square kilometers) near the Interstate […]

1 hour ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at splash pad in Detroit suburb leaves ‘numerous wounded victims,’ authorities say

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Multiple people were wounded Saturday in a shooting at a splash pad in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, authorities said. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard told reporters that “it sounds like we have nine, maybe 10 victims with gunshot wounds, victims of varying kinds of injuries.” Authorities said they […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs returns key to New York City in response to video of him attacking singer Cassie

NEW YORK (AP) — Sean “ Diddy ” Combs has returned his key to New York City after a request from Mayor Eric Adams in response to the release of a video showing the music mogul attacking R&B singer Cassie, officials said Saturday. The mayor’s office said Combs returned the key after Adams sent letters […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Victim identified in Southern California homicide case, 41 years after her remains were found

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A victim whose skull was found by children in a Southern California city in 1983 has been identified 41 years after her remains were first discovered, authorities said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim Friday as Maritza Glean Grimmett, a Panamanian native who moved to the U.S. in […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri abortion ban wasn’t about lawmakers imposing religious beliefs, judge says

A judge in Missouri says lawmakers who passed a restrictive abortion ban weren’t trying to impose their religious beliefs on everyone in the state, rejecting a case filed by more than a dozen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. The groups sought a permanent injunction last year barring Missouri from enforcing […]

7 hours ago

On live TV, Guardian Angels rough up a man in Times Square then misidentify him as a ‘migrant’