Five People Arrested After East Harlem Stabbing Turns Into a Near Riot
HARLEM — A near riot broke out in East Harlem this week after a crowd became angry at the arrest of a woman who allegedly stabbed another during an altercation in the subway station.
According to police, a crowd grew at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway stop for the 4, 5 and 6 trains as officers from the Transit Bureau conducted bag checks Monday night.
Around 10:30 p.m., an argument and altercation between two women broke out. Adela Leon, 38, of Brooklyn, allegedly stabbed a 34-year-old homeless woman, whose name police did not release, with an unidentified object in the left forearm and upper left back inside the train station.
As police moved in to arrest Leon, they used pepper spray to subdue her. Witnesses objected because they perceived the homeless woman to be the aggressor in the altercation, police said.
The crowd grew more angry and the officers from the Transit Bureau called for assistance. More than 100 police officers from the 23rd, 25th and 32nd precincts and housing and transit divisions responded along with low-flying helicopters.
Police said people in the crowd allegedly began to incite others to riot.
"The officers were pelted with glass bottles inside the subway and on the street," said Capt. Thomas C. Harnisch, commander of the 25th Precinct where the riot occurred.
Videos of the incident showed police arresting people and one man yelling at an officer.
In another scene, police yell "back the f**k up" and "clear the block" as they go to grab one man on the subway stairwell. A glass bottle is then heard breaking.
Another video shows a man in handcuffs amid a swarm of police officers and vehicles in the middle of the street.
Four people were arrested, police said. Hassan Brown, 21, of Brooklyn, was charged with inciting to riot, disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration for allegedly fighting with police and throwing glass bottles.
Schanel Boyd, 27, of Brooklyn, was charged with inciting to riot, resisting arrest and obstruction of government administration after he was allegedly observed throwing a glass bottle into a crowd of police officers.
Arela Drax, 22, of Brooklyn, was charged with inciting to riot, obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after she allegedly disobeyed police orders to clear the area during an emergency situation and verbally incited the crowd to riot.
Private Anderson, 32, who is homeless, was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after he allegedly fought with police and then kicked a door inside a police cruiser after being arrested.
Three officers were treated at Harlem Hospital for minor injuries, some after being hit with bottles or other flying objects.
For the alleged stabbing, Leon was charged with felony assault, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. The unnamed victim was treated for her injuries at Harlem Hospital and released.
One man at the 25th Precinct Community Council meeting Wednesday complained that some police at the scene were less than professional, angrily interacting with the crowd as opposed to trying to calm the situation.
"Ninety percent of the officers did a great job," said the man, who didn't identify himself. "But I've seen a couple of officers acting very.... unprofessionally."
Harnisch apologized to the man.
"That's definitely not the way officers are trained," Harnisch said.
"What we hope is that the officer will develop what we call thick skin. In an emotionally charged situation like that it's very important for the officers to have the ability to keep their emotions in check," he added.