Teen Cops to Resisting Arrest in Times Square Easter Wilding Spree

Judge releases him on time served

One of the teenagers arrested on felony charges in the Times Square Easter mayhem that rocked Midtown last month and left police officers injured has caught a break.

Leroy-Jama Wigfall, 19, of Brooklyn got out of jail yesterday when a grand jury reduced the felony charge against him to a misdemeanor. He had spent 21 days behind bars. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman released Wigfall on time served after he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, the most serious charge against him.

Berkman rejected prosecutors' contentions that he serve the max -- 9 months -- for resisting arrest on account of his sketchy past, which includes convictions on larceny, misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges, according to The New York Post

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

According to court documents, people arrested sprained a police officer's wrist, hurled bottles at one another and at least one knife had a knife during the sprawling brawl. Two women were shot and more than 30 people, including Wigfall, were arrested. Another 23 were released after getting summonses or juvenile reports.

Wigfall had initially faced a felony assault charge for allegedly spraining a cop's wrist and giving another a concussion as he struggled to escape arrest. But prosecutors said a probe showed it was 19-year-old Jermaine Parker, not Wigfall, who injured the police officers during the scuffle. Parker has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and possession of a weapon. 

The yearly ruckus has spurred stabbings and dozens of arrests before, but last month'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.

The NYPD created a task force in the wake of the melee to investigate the wilding spree and ward off future bedlam, reports The New York Post.

"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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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