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Migrants indicted for beating NYPD officers

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(The Center Square) — Seven migrants have been indicted in connection with the beating of two NYPD police officers that stirred bipartisan outrage among elected officials and calls for their deportation.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the indictments at a Thursday press briefing where he described the incident as “despicable” and played footage of the attack while detailing the roles each member of the group played in the “heinous” attack on the two officers.

Yoherny Brito, 19, Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, 19, and Yorman Reveron, 24, were each charged with two counts of assault in the second degree, a class D felony, for either kicking, grabbing or wrestling with officers during the incident, according to the DA’s office. A fourth suspect, Kelvin Servita Arocha, 19, was charged with two counts of assault.

“The assault on our police officers in Times Square outraged and sickened me,” Bragg said Wednesday in remarks. “We have absolutely no tolerance for this despicable behavior.”

Three other suspects in the attack remain at large and are being sought by authorities, Bragg said.

The incident, which was captured on video and police body cameras, stirred outrage from state and law enforcement officials and calls for the deportation of the mostly Venezuelan migrants.

It has added to tensions in New York, which is being ripped apart politically over the migrant issue as it grapples with the arrival of more than 170,000 asylum seekers over the past year.

Bragg didn’t address the immigration status of any of the suspects but sought to dispel “rumors” that four of the suspects left the city and were taken into custody by federal authorities.

He said Homeland Security Investigations informed the DA’s office on Tuesday that the individuals they took into custody were not affiliated with the New York City investigation.

The DA’s office said it has not received any indication from federal authorities that they have detained any individual related to the case.

Bragg was widely criticized for releasing several of the suspects on bail, and even Gov. Kathy Hochul added to the chorus of outrage over the release of the migrants.

“Get them all and send them back,” the Democrat told reporters last week. “You don’t touch our police officers.”

But Bragg on Wednesday strongly defended his decision to let the suspects walk, arguing that investigators needed to thoroughly review the video to figure out who was responsible for the attack.

“The only thing worse than failing to bring perpetrators to justice is if we ensnare innocent people in the criminal justice system,” he told reporters.

On Tuesday, a group of 20 New York Republican lawmakers called on Hochul to remove Bragg, saying his handling of the case was “unconscionable” and blaming the Democrat for being “soft on crime.”

“Bragg’s unconscionable handling of the recent attack on two NYPD officers by a gang of migrants outside of a Times Square shelter must be the final straw,” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and other lawmakers wrote in a letter. “The public safety of New Yorkers is clearly at risk.”

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban praised the indictments and said police officials “remain committed to working with the office of the Manhattan district attorney to ensure that everyone who took part in this despicable incident is held fully accountable for their actions.”