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Updated: February 16, 2024, 6:32 PM

Bail set in Manhattan court for five migrants accused in Times Square assault on NYPD


Five migrant men allegedly involved in the Jan. 27 Times Square attack on two police officers were ordered held on bail at their arraignments Friday on charges brought by a Manhattan grand jury.

“Ah, my God,” suspect Kelvin Serita Arocha, 19, sighed in Spanish, tilting his head towards the ceiling as another suspect, Yorman Reveron, 24, was led away in handcuffs from the hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

All five are Rikers Island-bound: Arocha was held on $15,000 cash bail, Reveron had his bail set at $100,000, and Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, 19, is held on a $50,000 bail. A fourth suspect, Yohenry Brito, 24, had his previous $15,000 bail reset ahead of a hearing next week to determine the source of his bail funds.

Those four suspects all face varying assault charges.

A fifth suspect, Wilson Juarez, 21, had his bail set to $1 and was charged only with a count of tampering with physical evidence. Bail of $1 is sometimes imposed on suspects who might be detained on other serious matters, such as under federal immigration laws.

Two more suspects in the incident were arraigned on the same grand jury indictment earlier this week.

“The seven defendants indicted have now appeared in court, and because of our thorough investigation we can present our case and hold them fully accountable for their actions,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

“Our investigation into the incident with the NYPD remains ongoing and we are working with our law enforcement partners to apprehend the remaining individuals involved.”

The Jan. 27 alleged assault on the officers set off a wave of national media attention and anti-migrant outcry, even as new body cam footage from the incident emerged that appeared to contradict the NYPD’s initial account that migrants had antagonized first.

But developments since the night of the attack — the bodycam footage, false rumors that some of the suspects had fled out of state and a change in approach from the DA’s office — have complicated and brought up questions about the case.

Several of the men’s attorneys noted the DA’s office initially did not ask for bail for most of the suspects in earlier court hearings.

The DA’s office’s stance on bail in the case has changed. At Friday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Neil Greenwell asked Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholz for up to $100,000 cash bail against some of the suspects.

Reveron, wearing a suit jacket, has received “numerous death threats,” according to his lawyer, to the point where his family, who are also in New York City, were afraid to come to court.

“There were also some reports that Mr. Reveron had fled on the bus,” his lawyer said. “Mr. Reveron has been in contact with me every day. He video-called me to show me that he was in New York City.”

Mark Macron, attorney for one of the migrants, brought up in court that after his client, Gomez-Izquiel, was first arrested, he was allowed to walk free. On Friday, prosecutors asked for bail to be set to $100,000.

“The change in circumstances has not been that great…” Macron said. “They’re responding to pressure.”

Bragg faced sharp criticism after deciding not to request bail for most of the men arrested in the attack.

Brito, whose interaction with the NYPD officers ignited the brawl, was also brought back into custody. Previously, a judge had set a bail of $15,000. Brio was freed after his bail was reportedly paid by a Brooklyn church group. A hearing is set for next week to determine the source of Brio’s bail funds.

“I think this was a situation where the people were surprised that the bail was posted,” Mark Jankowitz, Brito’s lawyer, said, referring to the DA’s office. Jankowitz added that prosecutors hadn’t asked for a hearing before Brito was allowed out of detention.

Brito was accompanied in court by immigration advocates. Jankowitz said that he was staying at the home of one of the advocates.

Juarez and Arocha were taken into ICE custody. Juarez was in ICE custody because he mistakenly missed a court date in Texas after relocating to New York, said his lawyer, Adrienne Edward. Juarez’s legal status in the U.S. is unclear, Edward said.

“Since this incident has taken place, his image has been splashed all over the news,” said Edward. She added: “Mr. Juarez was never involved in any physical altercation and unfortunately the same picture continues to get published.”

Juarez was charged with evidence tampering because he allegedly swapping jackets with others involved in the assault. He is not charged with participating in the attack itself.

According to Edward, Juarez came to the U.S. to work and send money home to support his mother and 2-year-old child.

Arocha’s lawyer, Michael Hurwitz, asked the judge to set bail to $1 so that the migrant could be placed into Department of Corrections custody, instead of remaining in ICE custody. Hurwitz said that if Arocha is placed in ICE custody, he could be deported before the criminal case is resolved. The judge instead set Arocha’s bail at $15,000.

“I think it’s undisputed that physical contact in this case was initiated by a police officer. That’s clear on this video,” Hurwitz said.

Two other suspects were arraigned before Friday’s hearing. Yarwuin Madris was arraigned on the indictment on Wednesday, and Ulises Bohorquez was arraigned on Thursday. They were not named in the original indictment.

“The DA in the case should’ve requested bail” earlier in the proceeding, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry told reporters afterward. “The judge should have kept them behind bars but yet, they were let back on the street to cause havoc.”