A 4-year-old boy was randomly punched in the head in Times Square, and cops say the suspect has a lengthy rap sheet, with multiple arrests just this year.
The incident happened just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the corner of 46th Street and Seventh Avenue. Police say a woman and her young child were in Times Square when an assailant approached them and, without warning, punched the child in the head.
Angel Rivera, 4, had traveled down from his home in the Bronx to enjoy the day in Times Square with his mother and sister. They snapped photos together at the M&M store and were heading for the red stairs when the attack happened.
"All of a sudden I hear like somebody got hit in the head with a halfway empty bottle of water and I turned around and [Angel's] screaming and crying, getting up off the floor," his mom, Rafaela Rivera, recalls.
His mother says she called out to the man and grabbed him his jacket, holding him until officers arrived and arrested him. Police say he kicked an officer while resisting arrest.
The incident comes two weeks after he was arrested for another assault.
"Why do they keep letting him out," Rafaela Rivera was left asking over the weekend. "I mean he hit a 4 year old, what if he ended up, you know, something worse?"
Police say the suspect, Babacar Mbaye, is facing charges of assault and resisting arrest, among other counts.
Mbaye has 40 prior arrests on his record, including four arrests just this year, an NYPD spokesman tells News 4.
The case is likely to become another example in the raging debate over bail reform in New York. Some of the city's highest-profile crimes this year were committed by people with multiple open court cases, including the murder of a woman in Chinatown last week.
The suspect in that case, Assamad Nash, had three open court cases for subway crimes, including assault, at the time he allegedly murdered Christina Yuna Lee.