Police drop charges against 15-year-old in Midtown bike attack

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Saturday, January 2, 2021
Charges dropped against teen in Midtown biker attack
Charges have been dropped against a 15-year-old boy who police had originally charged in a bike attack on the East Side.

MIDTOWN EAST, Manhattan (WABC) -- Charges have been dropped against a 15-year-old boy who police had originally charged in a bike attack on the East Side.

The teen's family told Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan that he was not there at the time of the incident and did not participate.

Police arrested and charged a 17-year-old male on Friday for the crimes, which damaged a BMW and a taxi and left their occupants shaken up.

The incident was reported Tuesday just after 4 p.m. at the intersection of East 21st Street and Fifth Avenue, and on Thursday, a group of teens surrounded and smashed two cars.

One of the teens allegedly kicked the BMW SUV as a large group surrounded it.

The previously charged teen's parents said he had an alibi, and he was at the Queens Center Mall buying a present for his brother at the time of the incident.

His brother and father showed a receipt from around the time of the incident as well as what they said were screenshots from his cellphone tracking apps.

"It's absolutely unacceptable," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "You have these teenagers doing something that is just wrong, period. At least one has been arrested, the others will be. Look, we've got to teach our young people better all the time. It's incumbent upon on all of us. But we also have to have consequences. So there will be consequences in this case. I don't want to see anything like this happen ever again in New York City."

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Derick Waller reports on the 14-year-old speaking out about the incident.

Police are looking for as many as four teens clearly caught on video throwing a bike on the hood of the car, jumping on the windshield, and punching the rear window nine times.

Detectives are working on possible identifications of at least two of those suspects, and more arrests are expected.

They estimate up to 25 bicyclists were part of the group surrounding the BMW, and previously a yellow taxi at East 29th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Police say this incident happened just before the viral video of the bicyclists attacking an SUV

Attorney Teny Geragos recorded the video and said she witnessed many others doing the same.

"All of a sudden, I heard loud screaming and banging," she said. "I ran from the conference table to the window to see what was the commotion. I saw dozens and dozens of cyclists, banging, taking turns, banging their bicycles against the cab driver, the cab driver's cab."

She is pleading with anyone who has video of these incidents to turn them over to the police.

"There was too many, too many of them, and they were taking turns hitting the back of his window," she said. "Afterwards, they completely sideswiped his mirrors on his car, and then one biker even hit him."

She said she was shocked.

"I was horrified, seeing it now and knowing that it happened to other people," she said. "It was terrifying. It was almost unbelievable because it was like nothing I had ever witnessed in the city. I really was just praying that everything was going to be OK.

The 36-year-old driver of the BMW," Max Torgovnic, was with his mother as the scene unfolded. He said he still can't get over the shock that this happened on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight -- and he feared for both his and his mother's lives.

"And I noticed this swarm of cyclists, tall, young kids just weaving in and out of traffic and kind of surrounding the car," he said. "We got to the point where they were in front of me and they were on either side of me and behind me, and I'm probably going like seven or eight miles an hour."

Torgovnic said the kids were holding onto the door handles. He said his first instinct was to slow down, stop and let them pass him.

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He said he didn't see it, but a witness told him someone was behind the vehicle on a bike doing a wheelie. And when he slowed down, the biker apparently crashed into the back of the car.

Torgovnic says that is what instigated the attack that was caught on camera. He said he stopped when he heard the thud to make sure everyone was OK.

"I started to open up the driver door, but I was immediately surrounded on every side by these kids that have just gotten off their bikes and they started screaming, yelling, punching the car, hitting the hood of the car, just yelling, 'Get out, get out, open the roll down the window, roll down the window,'" he said. "When I didn't, they started to take out their aggression on the car itself."

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).


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