An Arrest Has Been Made in Connection With NYC Women Who Reported Being Punched in the Face

The man "slammed a plastic bag full of God knows what down on my face from about a foot away," said one woman.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Mar. 27 2024, Published 2:07 p.m. ET

According to the New York City Police Department, there were significant reductions in crime in February 2024 compared to the same time last year. "Incidents of shootings, murder, and other bellwether crimes in New York City were markedly reduced," per the citywide crime statistics report. However, instances of simple assault are included in the report. According to The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman, simple assault is defined as a "serious threat which resulted in a minor physical injury."

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Googling "simple assault" and "New York City" doesn't yield any useful results. Perhaps this is something that largely goes unreported, which might be why the women of New York City have taken to social media to share stories about being punched in the face while walking down the street. Many of the stories share similarities. Here's what we know.

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Why are women in New York City getting punched in the face?

The earliest TikTok we could find is dated Feb. 8, 2024, from Jill Burke who said the assault happened "last week." In the video, Jill points to her black eye while stating the incident happened around 10 a.m. when she was on her way to work. "A man looked at me and within a split second pointed two fingers at me in a gun symbol, and then slammed a plastic bag full of God knows what down on my face from about a foot away." It left Jill with a concussion and of course, a great deal of fear.

Two weeks later, she had an update. In a follow-up TikTok, Jill explained that police had arrested the perpetrator a week after she posted her initial TikTok. "Then I found out that at his arraignment for assault, he was let go with zero bail to go back out into the streets until his trial." Jill describes the man who assaulted her. "It happened around Union Square. This man is a Black man. He was wearing red pants and a hat that kind of covers up your ears." After this, more TikToks popped up.

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In a Twitter post dated March 26, 2024, Sarah Harvard said she was punched in the back of her skull on March 19. "He was a Black man around 6 foot, wearing dreads that stopped right above his shoulders," she wrote in a tweet she shared on Instagram. Like Jill's assailant, this man was wearing a knit hat although the man Sarah described was wearing jeans, not red pants. "Nearly all of these women were attacked downtown in the Union Square/East Village/LES area," she said.

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Four days after Sarah's assault, another woman recorded a video about being attacked. She goes by @malous228 on TikTok and was in Times Square when the incident occurred. This time she was able to video the man as he walked away thanks to three "moms from Connecticut" who were there to help her. The man in @malous228's video is Black and has dreads that go nearly to his shoulders. He is wearing a red jacket and jeans, and appears to match the descriptions both Jill and Sarah shared.

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Two more TikTok videos from March 25 and March 26 surfaced, each from different women. Neither included a description of the man who assaulted them. One did include new details, which suggests this could be a different person. Halley Kate said she was walking down the sidewalk looking at her phone, but took note of the fact that there was plenty of room on the sidewalk. A man walking a dog either punched or elbowed Halley who briefly passed out. She awoke to find him screaming at her and in the TikTok, a huge lump can be seen on her forehead.

A woman named Kendall posted a video on TikTok after she was punched in Times Square. She explains that she wasn't even on her phone or in the man's way. She was walking with a group of coworkers. Kendall filmed the video in a restaurant as she holds a bag of ice on the side of her head where there's a visible lump.

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According to NBC News, New York Police are "investigating two recent incidents of women being assaulted," but "wouldn’t confirm that the incidents described in the TikTok videos are those they are investigating, they shared that they’re looking into two cases that are very similar to accounts posted on social media." Our thoughts are with the women of New York who deserve to walk the streets of the Big Apple in peace.

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