Two Assaults on Rector Set the Community on Edge
A pair of recent street crimes in Lower Manhattan have raised local concerns. On Tuesday, October 10, a 15-year-old girl was assaulted near the corner of Rector and Greenwich Streets, in the Financial District, at approximately 4:25pm. In the unprovoked attack, suspect Gregory Holmes, aged 30, is alleged to have hit and kicked the victim, whose name is being withheld.
Mr. Holmes was apprehended at the scene by a police officer who responded within minutes. In a sworn statement to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, the victim said, “I observed the defendant strike me three times about the face with a closed fist causing redness, swelling, and substantial pain.” Mr. Holmes has been charged with one count each of assault in the third degree, attempted assault in the third degree, and harassment in the second degree.
This incident became the focus of a discussion at the October 18 meeting of the Quality of Life Committee of Community Board 1, where Police Officer Nicolaos Iordanou (who handles community affairs at the NYPD’s First Precinct) said, “an arrest was made. Fortunately, there was a police officer who happened to be nearby and observed the incident. We placed the handcuffs on one individual, and we took him into custody.”
“We didn’t release him. We brought him down to the courthouse,” Officer Iordanou continued, in a reference to the NYPD’s Central Booking facility for Manhattan, which is located at 100 Centre Street (in the same building as the Criminal Court). “He was in for 24 hours or so. He was given a court date of November 29 and released by a judge. I think a lot of the people were upset about the charge. It is a misdemeanor assault, not a felony assault. We don’t set that policy. That’s just the way the penal law is written.”
Peter Tse, the Community Liaison for Lower Manhattan at the New York County District Attorney’s office, elaborated. “Since misdemeanor assault cases are not bail-eligible, there’s no discretion on our part, or the Police Department’s part, to do anything about holding him.”
“I know there was some talk about him residing in that homeless, migrant shelter,” Officer Iordanou said, in an apparent reference to the Holiday Inn at 99 Washington Street (at the corner of Rector Street), where the administration of Mayor Adams is temporarily housing more than 1,000 immigrant refugees. “But that’s not the case. He’s an uptown resident and judging by his history, it sounds like he’s just a random crazy person.”
Pat Moore, a 48-year resident of Cedar Street, longtime community advocate, and member of the First Precinct Community Council, did not appreciate local residents’ assumptions that the assailant was a member of the group of asylum seekers housed at the emergency shelter at 99 Washington Street.
“It really annoys me when people immediately associate the refugee shelter with crime,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to assume just because people are unhoused or they are from another country that they are criminals or mentally ill.”
In a second incident, on Monday, October 16, a 42-year-old Lower Manhattan resident (whose name is being withheld) was walking on the Esplanade near Rector Place when he was surrounded at approximately 9:27pm by three young males on bicycles, who slapped and punched him before fleeing.
According to a Police Department spokesman, “the victim was not hospitalized as a result of this incident but did sustain bruising and swelling to the right side of his face and pain to the back of his head. There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.”