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Army Vet Turned Police Officer Fought Off New York Subway Vagrants Without Pulling Sidearm
The NYPD officer caught on viral video fending off a band of subway vagrants without reaching for his gun has handled himself well under pressure before — he’s a U.S. Army veteran who’s served in Iraq and Afghanistan, police said.
He also made headlines in the past for speaking out against racial profiling after he was detained at Kennedy Airport.
The mayor on Tuesday praised Officer Syed Ali’s “extraordinary professionalism and bravery” during the wild melee viewed more than four million times on Twitter.
Ali’s actions also earned him a citation from Councilman Chaim Deutsch, and the NYPD Muslim Officers Society, of which he’s a member.
“We’d like to commend him for his use of restraint where he made sure that he utilized the minimum (force) necessary,” said Capt. Adeel Rana, the society’s president..”It might have something to do with his military training but the majority of it is him being calm under pressure situations.”
Meanwhile, the police officers’ union blasted the decision by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office not to pursue charges against the five homeless men who attacked the brave cop.
“There’s no telling how much damage these mopes would have done to that courageous police officer had he not been equipped to handle them. Had it gone the other way we might have had a seriously injured or dead police officer instead,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
“It’s wrong that they were not charged for attacking him. The District Attorney’s job is to prosecute crimes, not to act like a social advocate.”
Ali, an Army reservist, has been deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan and saw combat during a 2008 deployment to Iraq.
Despite his service, he was detained for hours at JFK for extra screening in April 2017 when he returned home from Istanbul, then threatened with arrest when he asked how long he’d be held, he told the New York Times at the time.
“I feel like my rights were violated,” Ali told the Times shortly after the incident. “Are you telling me that every guy with the last name Ali is a terrorist? Are you telling me every guy with brown skin coming in from overseas is a terrorist?”
Ali was assigned to a solo counter-terrorism post at the East Broadway F train stop in Lower Manhattan Sunday night when a woman approached him and said a group of homeless men were harassing her. He told them to leave and they “approached him aggressively,” police sources said.
Cell phone video captured what happened next — Ali used a baton and his feet to keep the men at bay as they came at him, one by one. One of the men lurched at him and fell onto the tracks, and the officer called MTA officials to cut power to the third rail, then radioed for help.
Police took five homeless men into custody — Oseas Garcia, 32, Juan Munez, 27, Raul Ruiz, 29. Elisoe Alvarez Santos, 36 and Leobardo Alvarado, 31 — at first processing them as intoxicated emotionally disturbed people.
After the fight, one of the men mugged for a camera from his hospital bed, belting out a tune, video obtained by the Daily News shows.
The golden-throated man warbles in what sounds like an attempt to sing a popular tune by Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Ozuna.
He’s all smiles as someone off-camera tries to guide him through the lyrics.
All five returned to the station after their release and cops hit them with local law violations for laying on the subway platform.
Police sources say vagrants often flock to the end of that platform to drink and get high.
“The NYPD is upping its presence at this station and others to ensure officers have the support they need,” de Blasio said in his tweet praising Ali.
©2018 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.