MANHATTAN — The protester arrested for sucker punching three police officers hours apart at different Eric Garner protests last week was identified through a stain on his sweater, police said.
Yotam Sayer, 22, a Bronx High School of Science graduate who lives in Brooklyn, was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 4 after he was caught striking Det. Michael Dye in the face during a protest at 14th Street and Eight Avenue, according to police and his father.
Dye suffered bruises to his head and upper back in the attack, said prosecutors, who charged Sayer with assault, obstructing government administration and resisting arrest.
Sayer was released the next day but was arrested again on Dec. 9 for a second attack on police officers earlier in the evening of Dec. 4, when he came to police headquarters to pick up property, police recognized his black bandana, black fanny pack and stained black sweater in video footage.
In the earlier attack, Sayer, who was black cloth over his mouth, was recorded by another protester punching Sergeant Robert Kelly near the Staten Island Ferry terminal about 8:30 p.m., prosecutors said. Sayer also struck Det. Joseph Pinder in the face at the same demonstration, the detective told investigators.
Kelly suffered pain to the back of his left ear after he was punched, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal complaint.
Sayer was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and harassment for that incident. He’s due back in court on Dec. 15 and on March 10.
“I’m very happy that the officers made a thorough investigation and made an arrest," said Sergeant Benevolent's Association president Ed Mullins "We are currently looking at this case and considering taking civil actions against the man who was arrested. That video is shameful of the demonstrators and is an indicator of what New York police officers are dealing with on a daily basis,” Mullins added.
Sayer also has previous arrests for pot possession and three sealed cases.
His lawyer did not return calls for comment.
Sayer's father told DNAinfo New York that his son is an "idealistic” man who was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and "doesn’t agree with the existing justice system."
“He’s an incredibly good person, very smart, overly dedicated and idealistic,” said the father, 69, who declined to give his full name.
“He believes in the good being of every person. He believes that the current system is just corrupting human beings."
He did not say how he felt about the charges pending against his son.