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February 16, 2024

Manhattan judge sets bail for men accused in Times Square brawl with NYPD

By Brittany Kriegstein

Five men charged in connection with the assault of two police officers in Times Square last month were indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday morning — and all were placed in custody until they can post bail.

Yorman Reveron, Yohenry Brito, Kelvin Servita Arocha, Wilson Juarez and Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel each appeared separately before a Manhattan judge to answer charges that they participated in an attack on police in Times Square that has garnered national headlines.

The men are accused of joining in an attack on police officers in Times Square on Jan. 27, with some accused of pulling, grabbing and kicking the officers and others allegedly obstructing justice.

A video of the incident went viral, and additional criticism mounted after several of the men were released without bail in an initial court appearance before a different judge.

But in Friday’s closely watched proceeding, each man ultimately left the courtroom in handcuffs, with Pickholz setting bail in a variety of different amounts for every defendant. She also set partially secured bond, which is when a defendant is allowed to pay a percentage of the total bail amount — usually 10% — but doesn’t have to pay the balance unless they fail to appear in court.

  • $100,000 cash and $250,000 partially secured bond for Reveron
  • $50,000 cash and $100,000 partially secured bond for Gomez-Izquiel
  • $1 bail for Juarez, who was already in ICE custody
  • $15,000 cash/ $50,000 partially secured bond for Servita Arocha, also in ICE custody
  • $15,000 cash and $50,000 partially secured bond for Brito

Judge Ruth Pickholz reset bail in Brito’s case, after it was revealed in court that he was able to make bail previously with the help of the pastor of a church in Brooklyn.

Despite speculation that they wouldn’t show up, Reveron and Brito – the only defendants not already in custody – were the first in the courtroom on Friday morning.

Brito, whose face was covered by a hood and hospital mask, arrived with a group of people his lawyer later identified as immigration advocates.

Reveron, who was wearing a blue blazer and a button-down shirt, walked into the courtroom with his lawyer. Both sat quietly in the gallery as they waited for their turn to appear before the judge.

The other defendants were already in law enforcement custody: Juarez and Servita Arocha were in federal immigration custody after they were arrested on Wednesday and Gomez-Izquiel was in NYPD custody after an arrest on an unrelated robbery charge earlier this week.

One by one, each of the defendants pleaded not guilty to a range of charges that included participating in the assault on police officers, swapping clothing to avoid detection, and kicking away an officer’s radio.

As the proceeding unfolded, prosecutors and attorneys addressed some of the questions and misinformation swirling around the case, which has reverberated online and in political discourse.

According to statements made by several of the defense attorneys — including Reveron’s lawyer Roberto Perez and Gomez-Izquiel’s lawyer Mark MacRon — none of the defendants in court were ever on a bus to California, as law enforcement officials had claimed at one point.

“Mr. Reveron has been in contact with me every day,” said Perez. “As a matter of fact, he video-called me to show that he has been here, in New York City, the entire time.”

Prosecutors also pointed out that the Manhattan district attorney’s office specifically did not request bail in several of the cases initially, as they “sought to further investigate” what role each defendant had played in the incident.

According to law enforcement officials, the altercation ensued after NYPD Lt. Ben Kurian and Officer Zunxu Tian attempted to disperse the men, who were said to be acting “disorderly” in front of a migrant shelter on West 42nd Street.

Body camera footage later distributed by the DA’s office showed the officers approaching the men and telling them to move to West 41st Street. Most complied, but Brito lagged behind and reached into a baby stroller. The officers then swiftly pushed him up against the wall, prompting the other men to circle back. Footage shows the physical confrontation began when Brito tried to escape as the other men tried to pull the officers away from him.

A total of nine people have been arrested so far in connection with the incident, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Carlos Nieves. Servita Arocha and Wilson Omar Juarez-Aguilarte were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this week with a 17-year-old suspect, after they were tracked to an apartment in the Bronx.

At the proceeding Friday, Juarez’s lawyer Adrienne Edward noted that ICE had been looking for him because of an outstanding warrant stemming from the fact that he missed an immigration court appearance in Texas after he’d moved to New York City.

It was unclear why ICE had also arrested Servita Arocha.

At a press conference after the court proceeding, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said the criminal justice system “did its job.”

“We want to make it clear: New York City police officers are not going to be punching bags on the streets of the city of New York. Our criminal justice system needs to send a clear and consistent message – if you assault a New York City police officer, you will be put behind bars for a long, long time,” Hendry said.

Assaulting a police officer is a felony, and carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

All of the men are due back in court on April 2, except for Brito, who will be appearing Feb. 20 in a surety hearing– a proceeding that will allow the court to further investigate who paid his bail.

Bahar Ostadan contributed reporting.