Two Costumed Characters, Heckler Arrested After Fight in Times Square: Police

Two costumed characters were arrested in Times Square Saturday night after police say they got into a fist fight with another man. 

All three men were charged with misdemeanor assault, officials said. According to the New York Post, the altercation started after 41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez and 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai, who were dressed as Batman and Spider-Man, allegedly confronted a man who was heckling them around 10:25 pm near 44th street and Broadway.

Saturday's arrests were the latest in series of arrests involving costumed characters in Times Square. Earlier this month, Woody, Minnie Mouse and the Statue of Liberty were all arrested in Times Square after they allegedly asked tourists to pay for pictures, the NYPD says. 

The people portraying the characters were all cuffed on aggressive solicitation charges after a run-in with a family of tourists Wednesday night.

The three characters posed for photos with a man, his wife and two children and allegedly demanded $5 in tips, police say. The family refused and told nearby officers, who made the arrests.

The arrests come amid calls to regulate the costumed characters in Times Square. One city lawmaker recently proposed licenses for the characters, and police have begun handing out fliers and posting signs in five languages telling visitors that tips are optional.

The crackdown followed a string of harrowing incidents in which some of the characters assaulted tourists, including children. Others harassed people and groped women. The face-offs peaked when a Spider-Man demanding money punched a police officer telling a woman she was not obliged to pay.

Last month, many of the buskers who don the costumes held a press conference where they argued they deserved a right to earn a living.

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