Spider-Man is usually the hero whom protects the public by helping law enforcement catch the criminals, but the tables were turned last month when a man dressed up as the Marvel superhero allegedly punched an officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Times Square has experienced a surge in street performers dressed up as superheros and other child-friendly figures, many of whom take and sell photos for money. However, city officials have begun cracking down on these the performers due to the fact that most of them are working without authorization from their respective character’s company.
According to police reports, 25-year-old Junior Bishop of Brooklyn, New York as panhandling in Times Square, asking passer-bys for $5 tip for a single photo or $10 for a double. When a woman offered the panhandling Spider-Man $1, he responded by saying he only accepts $5s, $10s, and $20s. NYPD officer Eduardo Molina overheard the altercation and came to offer assistance. He told the woman that she could donate any amount she wished, at which point Bishop allegedly began to argue with the police officer.
Officer Molina then asked Bishop to provide identification. Bishop responded by saying he wasn’t carrying it on his person’s. Officer Molina told Bishop he was being placed under arrest for failure to provide ID, but as he was placing the handcuffs on the panhandling Spider-Man, Bishop broke free and allegedly punched the officer in the face. Although not severe, the punch is believed to have caused bruising and minor lacerations to Molina’s face.
Officer Molina was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries.
Several other NYPD officers soon arrived at the scene to assist in the arrest. Once the Spider-Man character was subdued, he was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and criminal mischief. Just last month, another Times Square Spider-Man was convicted of harassment for a 2013 incident in which a woman did not tip him for a photo. Instances such as this are becoming all too common, which is why lawmakers and law enforcement officials are cracking down on panhandling superheros.
According to reports, there was also a Captain American panhandler standing nearby when the altercation occurred.
“I didn’t do anything. I was standing by Spider-Man, who punched a cop, and then four cops came over and arrested me. I didn’t struggle, I’m 20. I let them arrest me,” said Captain America.