Manhattan, NY – A plainclothes New York police captain turned the tables on two would-be robbers when they attacked him on Thursday night.
The incident occurred just before 6 p.m., as New York Police Captain Stephen Sparato was working a special operations detail with the Patrol Borough Manhattan South, the New York Daily News reported.
The plainclothes captain was in the area of 550 10th Avenue when he was suddenly approached by two unknown males who “demanded property”, the New York Police Department (NYPD) told Blue Lives Matter on Friday.
“What you got?” one of the suspects asked him, gesturing to his own waistband to suggest he was carrying a weapon, according to the New York Daily News.
Just then, the second suspect slugged Capt. Sparato in the face, police said.
The captain immediately drew his duty weapon, sending the would-be robbers running for their lives in opposite directions.
The punch left Capt. Sparato with “bruising, swelling and pain” to his head and face, the NYPD told Blue Lives Matter.
He was transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
“These two characters picked the wrong guy,” Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter told the New York Daily News. “The captain took good police action when outnumbered.”
The search for the unidentified suspects, both described as black males in their 20s, remains ongoing.
“The perpetrators may have gotten away today, but I am confident they will be arrested in the near future,” Richter said.
The assault on Capt. Sparato was only the latest incident of an NYPD officer being attacked in the line of duty.
Two officers were injured in August when residents at the Marcy House apartment project threw and dropped bottles and other debris on police from the complex’s windows and rooftop.
A teen with a can of pepper spray head-butted a third officer during the melee, injuring him as well.
One officer had to be carried off on a gurney by medics and another required 12 stitches in his arm, the New York Post reported.
Earlier that month, a Bronx man was caught on video hurling a metal container of Chinese food at an officer as police tried to disperse a hostile crowd.
Five officers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries during another August incident, after they attempted to shut down the loud music coming from a 100-person house party, according to the New York Post.
Party-goers hurled glass bottles at police, resulting in at least one arrest.
Later the same day, a New York police sergeant and several officers came under attack as they were standing near the Bethesda Fountain during an afternoon concert.
An unidentified suspect hurled a fist-sized chunk of concrete at them, which smashed into a tree approximately three feet away.
None of the officers were injured during that attack, WPIX reported.
In September, six officers were injured when a mob of unruly teens attacked them as they tried to help a pedestrian who was hit by a taxi.
Four teens ranging in age from 15 to 17 were arrested during that incident.
Officers have also repeatedly been doused with water in recent months, to include at least one altercation that involved an officer being hit in the head with a five-gallon bucket.
Despite the widespread attacks on New York police, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in September that he has “healed” the previously “strained” relationship between the community and the city’s police force.
“We’re the safest big city in America right now,” de Blasio boasted during an WMUR“Conversation with the Candidate” session on Aug. 22. “Crime has gone down on my watch six years in a row!”
During the question-and-answer segment of the broadcast, New Hampshire resident Terrance Geenarain asked the presidential hopeful about his relationship with the NYPD.
“Your relationship with NYPD…has been described as strained, combative, and frosty,” Geenarain said. “How can you assure voters that you’re the right candidate to unite this country when many Americans believe that these types of adversarial relationships are what is dividing us?”
De Blasio thanked Geenarain for his question, then assured him that there are no problems between him and NYPD’s “rank-and-file” officers “and especially not [with] the leadership” of the department.”
“That may be accurate for my relationship with some of the very vocal, and I think mistaken, leaders of certain police unions,” he noted.
“I am so proud to have brought in extraordinary leaders to the NYPD,” he bragged. “I have been supporting our police leaders consistently.”
“We’ve healed the relationship between our police and our community, which was really strained for a long time, and needed that healing,” de Blasio declared. “That’s been that strategy of neighborhood policing that’s made all the difference.”
They mayor said that police and justice reform has been needed for a long time.
“Some people are gonna like that, and some people are not,” he said.