Cop Arrested for Mamajuana Cafe Attack That Left Man in Coma
INWOOD — A 27-year-old cop was arrested Wednesday for the vicious attack at Mamajuana Cafe in January that left a young man with brain damage and in a coma.
Ariel Frias surrendered about 8:45 a.m. and was charged with misdemeanor assault for the attack on Edwin Veloz, 23, at Mamajuana Cafe, at 247 Dyckman St., on Jan. 8, police said.
He was released without bail, despite prosecutors' request that he be held on $2,500 bond.
Veloz was attacked at the controversial restaurant about 3:30 a.m. that day when he and a friend crossed paths with two drunken suspects. One of the assailants allegedly cold-cocked Veloz, knocking him out.
Veloz, who was taken to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, remained in a coma for weeks following the attack, police said. According to court documents, he suffered brain damage.
The other suspect, Javier Delarosa, 26, turned himself to the 34th Precinct later that month. He was also charged with misdemeanor assault.
Cops had been seeking Frias for the last two months.
Frias was arraigned Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court had been arrested by the Internal Affairs Bureau, records show.
Frias, who worked for Quartermaster Section and has been on the job for five years, was suspended, police said.
Attempts to reach his attorney were not immediately successful.
Mamajuana has been a lightening rod in the community for, among other things, drawing drunken revelers.
Community board members on the Lower East Side blocked a proposed plan by its owners to open a restaurant in the neighborhood. Mamajuana is planning to open a "high-end Italian restaurant" in Inwood, too. But locals fought it by protesting its liquor license application.
It recently opened a restaurant on the Upper West Side at 570 Amsterdam Ave. and W. 88th St., and plan to open another spot at 134 E. 48th St. in Midtown. Mamajuana has restaurants in Miami, Florida, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.