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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:Melee breaks out after someone cuts line outside  East Village migrant center

At least two cops were injured and two men arrested when a fight broke out after someone cut the line among a crowd of over 400 asylum seekers outside an East Village migrant center on Saturday morning, sources and eyewitnesses told The Post.

The wild melee began around 8:30 am outside the re-intake center on East 7th Street center near Tompkins Square Park when one man holding a cup of java tried to sneak into the winding line, apparently spilling it on others in the process, according to eyewitnesses and city officials at the scene.

A squabble quickly turned physical, with one man punching the line-cutter and tumbling to the ground as others joined the fray, witnesses said.

The cops urged the crowd to stand back — in some cases shoving some migrants away to restore order, according to videos shared with a reporter.

“People were punching each other and fighting – a lot of people,” said Samantha Hernandez, a 27-year old migrant from Mexico who watched the chaos.

Hundreds of migrants seeking asylum waited in line at a shelter in the East Village. William Farrington
According to witnesses, the fight broke out when a man trying to cut in line spilled his coffee on others. William Farrington

“I think they were desperate about the situation – it’s very bad. There’s too many people, and there’s not a lot of opportunities for us here. And [the city] treats us like animals.”

Both cops suffered minor injuries to their knees and faces while breaking up the brawl, officials said. They were treated at a local hospital, according to the NYPD. It was not immediately clear if any migrants suffered injuries.

The battling migrants were among the hundreds who flooded the site Saturday morning desperately trying to gain entry as the city continues to struggle finding shelter for thousands of asylum seekers still arriving weekly.

Two officers suffered minor injuries and were treated at a hospital. William Farrington
Those involved in the brawl are in police custody but have not yet been chaired. William Farrington

They formed a line that stretched around the block at the former St. Brigid School, waiting to get inside to reapply for temporary housing after being booted under Mayor Adams’ 30-day cap on shelter stays. This center is the only place they can do so.

Some migrants have told The Post they have been waiting for multiple days for a shot at another month-long stay in the city, with little luck.

The NYPD said the migrants involved in the fight were in custody but had yet to be charged with any crimes.