This screengrab from video from the New York Police Department shows a group of migrants assaulting two New York Police Department officers, with one officer on the ground repeatedly kicked and punched by the group of men after the officers attempted to break up a disorderly group near Times Square in the Saturday incident.
CNN  — 

At least seven people have been arrested and are accused of attacking two New York City Police Department officers outside a migrant shelter on Saturday, a police spokesperson told CNN.

At least four of those arrested were known to have been staying at migrant shelters, according to police.

Yorman Reveron, 24, Kelvin Servita Arocha, 19, Darwin Andres Gomez-Izquiel, 19, and Wilson Juarez, 21, were arrested Saturday, according to a criminal complaint. Each are facing charges of second-degree assault and second-degree obstructing governmental administration.

Jhoan Boada, 22, was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree assault and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, a complaint states.

Yohenry Brito, 24, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned Thursday on two counts of second-degree assault and one count of second-degree obstructing governmental administration, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told CNN.

A 21-year-old was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of robbery and felony assault, police said, but the DA on Thursday declined to charge him.

CNN has reached out to attorneys for all those named and did not receive an immediate response.

The case follows a surge in migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and, as a knock-on effect, in far-off major US cities – where many have gone on their own or on buses hired by Texas. Some 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 overwhelming number of immigrants, migrants, asylum-seekers, they want to be here and do what’s right. Those violent ones, we need to immediately have them removed from our city,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told La Mega 97.9 FM on Thursday.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment.

The incident happened as officers were attempting to break up a “disorderly group” outside the shelter near Times Square and a physical altercation ensued, 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.

While Brito was being apprehended, a struggle ensued with the officers, leading them to fall to the ground, according to a criminal complaint. Others then are accused of striking and kicking the officers, while Brito is accused of fleeing.

Adams was asked during the radio interview about growing calls to deport those responsible for the attack, but he said the city does not have the authority to deport.

“I think it was disgusting, and they should be held accountable,” Adams said of the attack. “We cannot allow people to abuse our symbol of authority. The police uniform is not only the individual, it is the symbol of authority and law and order and this is not a city of disorder. We’re going to be a city of order.”

Brito is being held on bail, while the five others were released without bail, according to the district attorney, as police continue to investigate the attack. An assistant district attorney requested $15,000 bail or $50,000 bond for Brito, citing his alleged past interactions with law enforcement.

For those released without bail, the district attorney consented “to defendant release to allow us time to conduct a thorough analysis of the incident and defendant’s role in it,” according to a bail application for Boada that states the others were released without bail under similar requests.

A Manhattan Criminal Court judge ordered them to be “released on their own recognizance,” meaning they were released from custody without paying bail and told to return to court while the case is pending.

Suspects no longer believed headed to California

New York City police no longer believe that four of the suspects fled to California, a senior law enforcement official told CNN on February 14.

The same senior law enforcement official told CNN February 1 that four of the suspects were given bus tickets by a faith-based charity and were en route to Calexico, California.

City officials received a tip from an individual who claimed that they had recognized the four men from television and that the men were given bus tickets by a faith-based charity that the person worked with, according to multiple law enforcement officials. The individual was subsequently interviewed and identified the men from photos, the senior law enforcement official said.

The NYPD asked police in Calexico to visit an address provided by the charity, where those police found no one who recognized the subjects.

One of the individuals believed to have fled was later arrested in New York City on robbery charges. That arrest, and the investigation in Calexico, led police to believe that the tip was a misidentification.

Arrested, charged and released without bail

“Violence against police officers is never acceptable,” a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told CNN. “Every defendant charged so far is facing felony charges that carry a penalty of up to seven years.”

The case calls to mind the controversial 2020 state bail reform act that essentially barred judges from setting bail in a sweeping number of crimes – a change critics say puts communities in danger.

Bragg in 2022 went further, issuing guidance to his assistants to refrain from asking for bail even in some cases that were still “bail eligible.”

“There is a presumption of pre-trial non-incarceration for every case except those with charges of homicide or the death of a victim” or charges involving weapons and serious physical injury, Bragg wrote in a January 2022 memo.

The defendants in the January assault outside the migrant shelter 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” to ensure their return to court.

Prosecutors, however, did not ask for bail.

On Friday, Bragg defended his office’s decision to release five suspects.

“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.

The five men who were released without bail are expected back in court in February and March. If they miss those court dates, arrest warrants likely would be issued for them.

Under New York’s 2014 sanctuary bill, a move to deport someone could follow their conviction on a felony charge.

The investigation continues and anyone with information is urged to come forward, a spokesperson for Bragg told CNN. “It is paramount that we conclusively identify each defendant and specify each participant’s role in the incident,” the spokesperson said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that four of the suspects were believed to be headed to a California town near Mexico; that reporting was based on a February 1 interview with a senior law enforcement official. The official told CNN on February 14 that police now believe an individual giving police a tip had misidentified the men, and that investigators no longer believe the men fled on a bus. The headline and story have been updated to remove inaccurate information and reflect new reporting.

CNN’s Nic F. Anderson and Samantha Beech contributed to this report.