NYPD Creates Task Force in Wake of Midtown Melee: Report

Unit aims to investigate gang-related Easter mayhem, ward off future bedlam

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It was a busy Easter night for the NYPD.

    The NYPD has organized a task force to probe the Easter gang wilding that rocked Midtown earlier this week, ending in scores of arrests, and to thwart similar bedlam from terrifying the city in the future, according to a published report.

    Authorities tapped detectives from the department's Gang and Intelligence divisions and the Manhattan South anti-crime squad for the project, reports The New York Post.

    "There's a lot of heat coming from Headquarters," a police source told the paper. "God forbid there's another incident."

    Two women were shot during the sprawling brawl near Times Square that left two others wounded and police officers injured. Rayvon Guice, 20, was arrested Tuesday on charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the shootings and police continue to investigate other incidents that happened during the fracas.

    Police said hundreds of young people spilled into Midtown early Monday in what has become a raucous annual ritual on the weekend of the New York International Auto Show. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday that some of those involved this year skipped the auto show altogether and headed straight for Times Square.

    According to court documents released Tuesday, people arrested sprained a police officer's wrist, hurled bottles at one another and at least one knife had a knife during the brawl.

    One man curled his hands into fists and cursed at officers, another refused to move out of the way as a sergeant tried to investigate one of the shootings, and other defendants blocked sidewalks and streets, according to police accounts that emerged as at least 21 of some 33 people arrested were arraigned.

    Plea and bail information wasn't immediately available. The charges mainly included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, though some defendants faced other charges ranging from assault to marijuana possession.

    Besides the 33 arrested, another 23 were released after getting summonses or juvenile reports.

    The yearly ruckus has spurred stabbings and dozens of arrests before, but Monday's mayhem brought more arrests and gained more attention than usual. It came amid concerns about an uptick in murders, felony assaults and rapes in the first quarter of this year after several years of historic lows.

    "New York cannot take one step backward in our fight to keep our streets safe," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement, adding that he was "extremely concerned about the threat to public safety these cases represent."

    Overall, crime in the city remains at record lows.