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Updated: January 31, 2024, 8:43 AM

Migrants pummel NYPD cops outside Times Square shelter


A group of migrants pummeled NYPD officers attempting to make an arrest outside a shelter in Times Square, police and sources said Tuesday.

Two officers and a lieutenant from the NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct approached the group of men outside a migrant shelter on W. 42nd St. near Seventh Ave. at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, cops said.

The incident seemed likely to raise the temperature of the already heated debate surrounding the migrant crisis, in which more than 100,000 migrants came to the city last year.

Four of the suspects were released without bail following arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The officers had been trying to break up the disorderly crowd outside the Candler Building, where the city announced the opening of a mega-shelter in March. When the cops attempted to put one of the men under arrest, multiple people attacked, according to authorities.

The men kicked and punched the officers in the head and body, video released by police shows.

“They were kicking and punching one of the cops,” a security guard in the area told the Daily News on Tuesday. “They mobbed [the cops]. It was wild.”

The lieutenant suffered a cut to his face during the melee. He was treated on the scene along with his colleagues, according to cops.

Two 19-year-old men, a 24-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were arrested at the scene. All were charged with assault on a police officer.

The men live at migrant shelters in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, police sources said. About 67,000 migrants total are in the city’s care.

The men often hung out behind the building drinking and smoking, according to the guard.

The city’s largest cop union decried the release of the alleged attackers following their arraignment.

“Attacks on police officers are becoming an epidemic, and the reason is [the] revolving door we’re seeing in cases like this one,” Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement. “It is impossible for police officers to deal effectively with crime and disorder if the justice system can’t or won’t protect us while we do that work.”

Police are still searching for five other men involved in the brawl. They released photos of the wanted men in the hopes someone may recognize them. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

The shelter at the Candler Building has capacity for hundreds of migrants, officials indicated last spring. The previously vacant site has been providing food and services including health care, they said.

The shelter there was one of the first where adult migrants received 30-day notices informing them they had to get out.

The city has also begun imposing an 11 p.m. curfew at some shelters, with the mayor’s office saying the move was meant to boost health and safety.

That was among many controversial policy adjustments from the Adams administration as the city has struggled to handle the new arrivals. Meanwhile, demonstrations — both supporting and opposing the migrants — have broken out throughout the city, and immigration policy is a key issue in 2024 elections in the city and beyond.

Among a handful of violent incidents linked to migrants, six were arrested and two cops were injured in a brawl that broke out when officers confiscated scooters in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in September.