The police chief of a California city on the Mexico border says “appropriate measures” will be taken to address the anticipated arrival of four migrant men charged with felonies in an attack on two New York Police Department officers.
The men were headed by bus to Calexico, California, after they were released from custody, a senior law enforcement official said.
On Friday, interim Calexico Police Chief Armando Orozco issued a statement about the men’s travel plans. He assured residents that his department is “working diligently to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to address the situation and to maintain the safety and security.”
“The Calexico Police Department is deeply saddened by the incident that resulted in the injury of our fellow officers from the NYPD. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we wish them a swift and complete recovery,” the interim chief wrote in the statement. “Violence against law enforcement officers is an affront to the principles of justice and the safety of our communities.”
“We understand the concerns raised by the community regarding this incident, and we want to assure our residents and visitors that their safety is our top priority,” Orozco added.
The interim chief said his department is “actively cooperating with relevant authorities” to gather more information about the New York City incident and “to determine the appropriate course of action.”
The four men were among at least seven people arrested, CNN previously reported. The four were released from custody without bail and given bus tickets by a faith-based charity, the senior law enforcement official told CNN.
The altercation erupted after officers tried to break up a “disorderly group” outside a migrant shelter near Times Square, police said.
When the officers tried to take a person into custody, “multiple unidentified individuals repeatedly kicked and punched the officers in the head and body” and later fled on foot, police said. The officers had minor injuries and were treated on the scene, police said.
The NYPD released video of the attack.
The incident follows an increase in migrants and asylum-seekers arriving at the US-Mexico border, many of whom have made their way to major cities either on their own or on buses chartered by Texas. Approximately 67,000 migrants are under New York City’s care, among more than 173,900 who’ve arrived in the city since spring 2022, a City Hall spokesperson told CNN on Thursday.
The men who were released without bail are expected back in court in February and March. If they miss those court dates, arrest warrants will likely be issued for them.
The defendants were charged with felonies for which prosecutors could have asked for bail, in particular because they were living in temporary shelters for migrants and had no “ties to the community.”
Prosecutors, however, did not ask for bail.
“While the video is shocking and disturbing, in order to secure convictions in a court of law it is essential that we conclusively identify each defendant and specify each person’s participance in the incident,” Bragg said.