The 16-year-old boy who allegedly punched a cop in a Manhattan subway station was free to strike after being fired without bail in a robbery case days earlier.
The boy – who is not identified because he is underage – was released on his own recognizance after his bust on Wednesday on allegations that he and three others jumped on a 49-year-old man on a street in Midtown, hitting the victim and running away with his cell phone.
Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office asked that he be released with “intensive community supervision” during his arraignment, although they could have requested bail for the robbery charge.
Days later on Saturday, the boy was arrested for the subway incident, in which he was filmed violently attacking a Manhattan cop after he allegedly jumped a turnstile at the 125th Street-Lexington Avenue station in East Harlem.
The teenager was again released without bail on Sunday and the case was moved to Family Court, where the proceedings are hidden from the public. Under the state’s “Raise the Age” law enacted in 2017, the majority of cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds now go directly to family court.
At a hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors said they hoped the theft case would also be transferred to family court.
At their request, a judge sent the teenager to St. John’s, an ‘unsecured detention facility’ in Queens, where he will have a 6 p.m. curfew and will be subject to supervision as the case is unfolding.
“The people have not obtained the supporting depositions necessary to move this case to family court,” ADA Eva Dowdell said during the hearing in the youth section of Manhattan Supreme Court.
“We ask the court to transfer [the defendant] in the care of St. John’s Residence.
Judge Althea Drysdale agreed.
“I’m going to release you on your own recognizance, because the people asked me to release you on your own recognizance,” Drysdale told the teenager. “I just told you, I’m releasing you to St. John’s.”
Stern in his demeanor, Drysdale repeatedly asked the teenager if he understood the terms of his release to St. John’s facility.
Each time, he replied, “Yes, your honor.
At the end of the hearing, the boy asked the court, “Am I allowed to file a complaint? »
“Making a complaint against whom? Drysdale replied.
The teenager did not give a clear answer.
The boy did not respond to reporters’ questions as he left the courthouse with his lawyer on Tuesday. He is due back in court on Friday, when prosecutors expect to be able to transfer the case to family court.
At 16, the teenager falls under the so-called Raise the Age Act designed to keep young people accused of crimes out of the adult system. The legislation raised the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 statewide, effective October 1, 2019.
Under the law, 16- and 17-year-old suspects are sent to family court as long as their cases do not involve a violent crime with a deadly weapon, a sex crime or “significant physical injury” to their victim.
The teenager at the center of the subway brawl faces second-degree robbery and assault charges for a midnight Midtown assault on June 21, in which prosecutors said he and three others people hit a man in the head and stole his phone.
The late-night robbery on East 40th Street and Madison Avenue left the victim with cuts to his head and hand, according to a criminal complaint.
The teenager’s case sparked outrage from cops, with the Police Benevolent Association union sharing a video of the transit system saying: ‘Cops are stepping in to make subways safer, but we feel let down by a justice system that won’t support us.
Mayor Eric Adams, during a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, used the teenager as a poster child for all that is wrong with the criminal justice system.
“We need to look at violent offenders and this is a clear case of that,” Adams said. “Theft is a violent crime. But as soon as we catch them, the system releases them and they repeat the action… When I say that we are the laughingstock of the country, that’s what I mean.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney’s office insisted ‘intensive community supervision was the appropriate pre-trial decision’ in the robbery case, citing the teen’s age, which was 15 at the time, and claiming that he had no prior arrests that he knew of.
Law enforcement sources said the boy had a sealed file from April in which he was arrested after being found in a car with a loaded gun and a crossbow in Brooklyn.
“Our system needs to respond to kids like kids,” spokeswoman Emily Tuttle told the Post.
Bail is meant to secure a suspect’s return to court, Tuttle said, noting that the teenager showed up for his hearing on Tuesday.
Addressing the boy’s arrest for assault on the subway, Tuttle said the prosecutor’s office was looking for “age-appropriate interventions” to deal with the alleged crimes.
“The violence against our officers is unacceptable, and given his age at the time of his arrest, we have agreed to send his second case to family court as soon as possible, where he will receive age-appropriate interventions and support. that he needs while being held in charge,” she said.