A Bangladeshi-born police officer has received special commendations for fending off five men with kicks and a baton in a fight in New York City on Sunday, reports The New York Times.
A bystander captured the incident on video and shared it on social media, where it went viral.
Syed Ali, the officer involved, did not know he had been filmed until another officer showed him the video.
Ali, who does not use social media, was surprised.
A woman had approached Ali at the East Broadway subway station on New York City’s Lower East Side and told him that she was afraid because a group of homeless people were bothering her.
Ali then told the men to leave the station.
“That’s when I saw they started becoming a little aggressive, more combative,” he told The New York Times. “The video kind of shows what happened after that.”
The video shows the men approaching him while he orders them repeatedly to stay back.
When one of the men gets close, Ali kicked him to the ground. The man got back up and began attacking him. Ali then used his baton. The other men began to approach.
A bystander attempted to separate Ali and the other men, but one of the assailants broke away and lunged at Ali only to trip, stumble and fall onto the train tracks.
The police officer then called for the power to the rail tracks to be shut off.
Ali said he was concerned about the safety of the men even as they were attacking him.
“Looking at the video now from the outside, I’m like, ‘Whoa, that was a pretty ugly situation,’” he said.
Ali said his training in the military had helped him stay calm during the attack and that he had not used his gun because he believed it was not needed in that situation.
“We’ve been taught to properly use a piece of equipment based on the situation,” he said.
The attackers, who were highly intoxicated, were taken to hospital, received treatment and released.
According to the New York Police Department, two of the assailants were later arrested for sleeping in the subway station on Wednesday and later charged in connection with the attack.
Another man will also be charged, New York police said.
“What extraordinary professionalism and bravery by NYPD Officer Syed Ali,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter on Tuesday.
Councilman Chaim M Deutsch of Brooklyn presented Ali with a certificate and thanked him for “restraint and discipline in how he de-escalated the situation.”
Ali, who is an American citizen, came to the US with his parents from Bangladesh when he was three and grew up in New York City.
He later joined the US army and served in Kuwait.
Ali said he loves his job and enjoyed making people feel safe on the subway.
He recalled an incident where he chased down a thief who stole a phone from a mute woman who communicated with hand gestures, reports bdnews24.
“All I cared about was that we were able to help this girl,” Officer Ali said. “It’s a true euphoric feeling of doing what I signed up to do.”
Footage of the video can be viewed on this twitter link: https://twitter.com/CommissBratton/status/1077659572293304321
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