A man allegedly lit a firework and threw it at a homeless man lying down in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, fleeing as the firework explodes, according to a disturbing video.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said the 66-year-old victim suffered minor burns to his back in the June 22 attack around 4 a.m.
The video showed the suspect lighting the firework and throwing it on a man covered in a blanket in front of 67 Lenox Avenue. The suspect is allegedly smiling as he flees the scene. At least two other people recorded the incident using their cell phones. Laughing could be heard in the background of the video.
Earlier yesterday morning, a homeless male was sleeping on the sidewalk in front of 67 Lenox Avenue, in the confines of the 28 pct, when he was attacked. The male pictured above threw a lit firework on him, which exploded causing burns to the victims back. pic.twitter.com/gUZhbLznGT
— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDDetectives) June 23, 2020
The NYPD is currently searching for suspects.
Illegal fireworks have been ignited across New York City, with 8,967 complaints being lodged through the city’s 311 system between June 1 and June 21, up from just 28 during the same period in 2019, Fox 5 New York reported.
“Illegal fireworks are not only illegal they are dangerous,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a press conference Tuesday.
De Blasio announced the launch of an operation designed to confiscate fireworks distributors, adding that the NYPD, the FDNY, and Deputy Sheriff’s officers would work together to stop the flow of fireworks from getting into New York City.
But de Blasio’s comments directly contradicted the words of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who recently called on community groups instead of the police to take action because they are considered to be “nonviolent activity.”
“That is the role of community-based groups and organizations,” Adams said. “That is why I’m calling on the City of New York to empower Cure Violence to go into the community and talk to the residents about the dangers of fireworks.”