Costumed Spider-Man charged with soliciting money, punching officer to get out of sticky web
A man who allegedly slugged a cop in Times Square while dressed as Spider-Man was held in lieu of $3,500 bail Sunday afternoon in Manhattan Criminal Court, said a Manhattan district attorney spokeswoman.
Junior Bishop, 25, is accused of slugging an officer as cops tried to arrest him for harassing a woman for a larger tip.
On Saturday around 2 p.m., a woman tried to tip Bishop a dollar after taking a photo with him. But Bishop's spider sense started tingling and he allegedly refused, insisting that he would accept "fives, tens or twenties only," police said.
The officer told the woman she could "donate" or tip whatever amount she wanted to. Bishop then allegedly told the cop to "mind your own [expletive] business." Bishop then allegedly continued to argue with the officer who tried to arrest him, police said.
Trying to wiggle out of a sticky situation, Bishop allegedly broke free from the officer, took "a fighting stance" and swung around and punched him several times, according to the criminal complaint.
With a crowd gathering, several officers then cuffed the costumed arachnoid.
Bishop was charged with several offenses, including second-degree assault, resisting arrest and criminal mischief, according to the criminal complaint.
"He's a good kid," said a woman who answered the phone at Bishop's Flatlands home and identified herself only as his mother. "He's trying to make an honest dollar. He's not hurting nobody, he's not selling no drugs."
Police later arrested a second costumed character at about 10 p.m. on Saturday for allegedly blocking pedestrian traffic on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. It was unclear which character the woman was dressed as.
The presence of Times Square characters has become a hot-button issue recently. While they can legally accept tips, some lawmakers have proposed regulating them. The characters have been criticized for aggressively targeting tourists.
By Sunday afternoon, a half-dozen costumed characters gathered near 42nd Street, talking about the arrest in between snapping photos with tourists.
"He's a good guy, he was asking for tips and that's it," said Alex Lucero, 34, about Bishop. "
The two have known each other for about six months, he said. "He's a human being, he doesn't deserve that."
Lucero, who dresses as Captain Hook, said he's been working as a character for about eight months.
"The police watch me all the time," Lucero added. "I'm raising money for college. I'm still learning English."
Jose Martinez, 41, a Washington Heights resident who dresses as Batman, said he never demands money from people. He made about $50 in five hours Sunday afternoon, he said, holding the cash.
"I ask for tips, they agree," he said. "Sometimes you can make nothing. People give what they give."
Bishop was arrested twice in April, police said: In the first incident, a costumed Bishop was charged with aggressively soliciting photos and intimidating people into handing over more money. When he was arrested, police said, a knife was found on him.
A couple weeks later Bishop was arrested after allegedly punching and threatening a woman with a knife on the subway in Brooklyn, police said.
On Saturday the injured officer, who has been with the department for a year and a half, was taken to NYU Langone Medical Center with a laceration to his face. He was treated released, police said.