Just after 5am Wednesday morning, a 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted on 16th street between 4th and 5th Avenues. According to CBS New York, the woman got off the subway at 4th and 9th Street; as she walked, she noticed she was being followed. On 16th street, witnesses report, that the attacker grabbed the woman from behind and groped in the “front midsection.” She screamed, neighbors ran to her aid, and the suspect fled.
Here’s where things get complicated: one of the neighbors cornered the suspect and turned him over to the police. But because the victim had already left the scene, the police let him go.
That makes a certain degree of sense — according to protocol, the Brooklyn Paper explains, “cops can’t file charges without a victim’s cooperation,” and Park Slope Patch reports that officers in question say theywaited for the victim at the scene “for some time” before releasing the suspect. Still, critics aren’t buying it.
The officers apparently did fill out a stop, question, and frisk report on the suspect before releasing him, says the New York Post, but “a police source said it appears the two cops botched the paperwork with the suspect’s information.”
For now, both officers in question have been reassigned to desk duty in other precincts while the department investigates their handling of the incident, says Patch. Meanwhile, the police are still on the hunt for the suspect — a 5’4″, 140 lb Hispanic man in a red baseball cap — who matches this video footage. Whether this attack is related to last summer’s string of sexual assaults is still unclear.
If you have any info on the situation, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, log onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or text CRIMES, then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.