A security video captures two NYPD officers being attacked while...

A security video captures two NYPD officers being attacked while trying to make an arrest in midtown Manhattan on Jan. 27. Credit: NYPD

On Jan. 27, a New York Police Department lieutenant and an officer were trying to disperse a disorderly group outside a migrant shelter on W. 42nd St. near Seventh Avenue in Manhattan.

A security video shows the two cops attempting to arrest one man. Soon, they are seen struggling on the ground. Others, identified simply as migrants, jump into the fray, punching, kicking and shoving the officers. Many of the underlying facts are still unknown.

Then, what started as a street brawl with police snowballed into an unwieldy government mess featuring both bad optics and bad substance. In large part, this is yet another story about the continually controversial choices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Following the midtown fight, seven assailants were arrested. Three were charged with felony assault and robbery, including the person initially resisting arrest, Yohenry Brito, 24. Yet Bragg’s office asked in court that only Brito be held in lieu of bail, which in this case was set at $15,000. As it turned out, Brito had a record. He pled guilty to disorderly conduct in September.

Others arrested were also bail-eligible. Four of them, whom Bragg’s office let go with court summonses, promptly fled the city, reportedly for the Southwest. Why didn’t the DA try to detain the suspects?

As in past controversies, Bragg did not articulate a clear public defense of his actions and choices.

Crime rates have fallen in the city amid the influx of the past couple of years of migrants from Venezuela and elsewhere. It’s still evident that most migrants looking to stay are here to earn a living, raise families, and become law-abiding residents. That’s why any failure by authorities to go after miscreants regardless of their immigration status does nobody any favors.

The small minority of asylum-seekers and migrants who break the law effectively defame the majority. Obviously the convicted criminals among them must be deported. When the authorities look remiss or nonchalant, the public has reason to become nervous. That will not help our border issues.

On Monday the NYPD raided a residence in the Bronx. Cops arrested at least four migrants who allegedly took part in a robbery ring that stole cellphones from dozens of people. Mayor Eric Adams, who hadn’t weighed in much on the midtown case, accompanied his former police colleagues on the Bronx raid, a sign that perhaps this problem is being taken more seriously.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who met with Bragg last week, said the right thing of the midtown incident before the cameras. “Get them all — send them back . . . You don’t touch our police officers, you don’t touch anyone,” she said.

Finally, days after the incident, Bragg deplored what he saw on the video. Now that it’s two years into his term, he’d best start explaining his philosophy to the voters of his county. His actions affect the whole region.

MEMBERS OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD are experienced journalists who offer reasoned opinions, based on facts, to encourage informed debate about the issues facing our community.

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