The couple — a 22-year-old man and 18-year-old woman — was walking on Madison Avenue near 125th Street when two men approached about 12 a.m. on April 5, police said.
One of the suspects, 27-year-old Jorge Reyes, told the couple, "Give me your purse," police said.
When the couple refused, the second suspect, 21-year-old Keith Wooten, began punching the male victim in the face and body, police said.
Two police officers driving by stated they saw Wooten pull out a gravity knife and swing it toward the man. Wooten and Reyes fled when they saw the officers, according to the criminal complaint.
During the chase, Wooten threw the gravity knife on the ground, the complaint said.
Wooten and Reyes were charged with attempted robbery and assault. Both are being held at Rikers Island on $5,000 bail. They are both due back in court on April 10, according to online court records.
Wooten's lawyer believes officers got the wrong person.
"Keith Wooten comes from a good family, is gainfully employed and has no criminal record," Gregory Gomez said in an email. "The type of conduct for which he is charged is totally out of his character. Preliminary investigations reveal he has been falsely identified."
Gomez declined to talk about the specifics of the case.
Reyes' did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Other notable recent crimes that occurred in the 25th Precinct include:
► A 24-year-old man refused to let police into his apartment and injured an officer when police tried to enter in response to a domestic disturbance call, NYPD said.
Officers responded to a domestic disturbance call involving 24-year-old Lance Pickett, a woman and her 5-day-old child at 1900 Lexington Avenue shortly before 10 p.m. on March 31, police said.
When police tried to enter the apartment to check on the child and the mother, Pickett refused to let them in and slammed the door on an officer's arm, according to police.
Pickett also barred the mother from leaving the apartment by standing in the doorway, according to the criminal complaint.
Officers eventually pushed their way in and arrested Pickett. The child was not injured, police said.
Pickett was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest. He is due back in court on April 29, according to court records.
► A 69-year-old man had his $5,900 bike stolen after he chained it to a pole and stepped into a store to get coffee, police said.
The man locked his Seven Cycles Axiom bike near East 125th Street and Second Avenue at about 9:45 p.m. on April 2. When he returned to it about 30 minutes later, the bike was gone, police said.