NYPD Cop Fights Off 5 Men on Subway Platform, Police Union Criticizes District Attorney For Not Prosecuting Attackers

nypd officer sayed ali attack subway
The NYPD police union criticized the Manhattan District Attorney for not prosecuting a group of men involved in a physical altercation with officer Syed Ali. Brooklyn Councilman Chaim Deutsch

After a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer was praised for his handling of a physical altercation, the police union criticized the district attorney for not pursuing charges against the suspects.

On Sunday night, NYPD officer Syed Ali, who is an Army combat veteran, was on a solo foot post inside the East Broadway subway station in New York City, WNBC reported. He was informed that a woman was being harassed by a group of men inside the station and approached the five men.

Police told WNBC that the men were visibly intoxicated and asked them to leave the subway station, which is a stop on the F line. However, they refused to leave and began to aggressively approach the officer, one by one.

"It's not gonna happen. Stand back," Ali told the men according to a video of the incident posted on social media. "I don't want to hit you."

The officer kicked one man, causing him to fall over, and waved his baton at the other men, repeatedly warning them to move back and get out of the station he was patrolling. In the video, one man was seen going after the officer but stumbled off the side of the platform and onto the tracks.

Ali requested the electrical power to be turned off to the tracks and for other officers to come to the station, according to WNBC. The man was safely rescued from the tracks and four others were taken into police custody.

However, on Monday, officers saw the group of people in the same subway station and once again took them into custody in violation of a law prohibiting them from being outstretched in the station. They were identified by WPIX as Oseas Garcia, 32, Juan Nunez, 27, Raul Ruiz, 29, Elisea Alvarez Santos, 36, and Leobardo Alvarado, 31.

Ali's ability to de-escalate the situation without tragedy was praised by multiple New York City officials. On Tuesday, Brooklyn Councilman Chaim Deutsch paid a visit to an NYPD office to honor Ali for his "quick action to defend civilians and himself against five individuals attacking on a subway platform." He added that the officer showed both restraint and discipline in his actions.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also lauded the officer's exhibition of "extraordinary professionalism and bravery." De Blasio explained that attacks on police officers won't ever be tolerated.

Former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton shared the video of the incident on his own Twitter and commended the officer on his performance. He added that it's a situation that should serve as a reminder to New Yorkers and political leaders that the city's decline in the 1970s and 1980s began in the subway.

"The quality-of-life declines and warning signs are all there for it to happen once again," Bratton wrote on Twitter.

Despite the high-profile nature of the altercation, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office dropped charges against the five suspects, drawing the ire of the police officer's union. Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said there's no way to know how much damage could have been inflicted to the officer if he wasn't able to control the situation.

"Had it gone the other way we might have had a seriously injured or dead police officer instead," Lynch said. "It's wrong that they were not charged for attacking him."

Lynch explained that the district attorney's job is to prosecute crimes, "not to act like a social advocate." He likened the group of men attacking the officers to a "pack of jackals" and argued that they should be held accountable for their actions.

New York City Councilman Joe Borelli also criticized the district attorney's decision not to prosecute the men in the video. In a post on Twitter, he welcomed people to New York City, "where you can have a full-blown 5-on-1 karate fight with a cop and not be prosecuted."

However, Manhattan District Attorney's Office Spokesman Danny Frost denied that the district attorney wasn't prosecuting people who attack officers. He told WPIX that the men weren't arrested for the physical altercation, but were arrested for sleeping on the floor of a subway station, which is a "rules violation" and not a crime.

Frost said that the violation hasn't been prosecuted since March 2016 under a policy that was established by the police commissioner and the mayor.