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NYC police criticize system that freed teen just hours after he punched, choked officers

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A teenager in New York City who was arrested for violently attacking police officers in an upper Manhattan subway station was released just hours later, prompting outcry from city police.

The attack, caught on video, took place after the teen was caught jumping a turnstile in a subway station. When officers approached him, he punched and choked an officer, resulting in a brawl between the teen and the officers. He was released hours later, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The case has, according to the DA’s office, been turned over to Family Court because the accused is a minor.

According to Mayor Eric Adams, the teen had been in trouble with the law before the incident, having been arrested for robbery just a few days prior to the subway station incident. Adams, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, railed against the decision to release the teen.

“As soon as we catch them, the system releases them, and they repeat the action,” the mayor said. “When I say we’re the laughingstock of the country, this is what I’m talking about. How do we keep our city safe, when the other parts of the criminal justice system — they have abandoned our public safety apparatus?”

Police officers joined Adams in his opinion. Head of the police union, Pat Lynch, told the New York Post these measures make people think they can “choke a cop and be back out in hours.” He advocated for officers  who “put their lives on the line but are ‘abandoned by a justice system that won’t back us up.’”

Adams has called on Governor Kathy Hochul to call a special session of the legislature to work on bail reform and other law enforcement issues. Hochul has not signaled any intention to do so.

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