An off-duty NYPD cop was stabbed in the head with a pair of scissors near a turnstile in a Manhattan subway station Tuesday afternoon by a suspect who said, “What are you looking at?”
After the assault and while tending to his wound, the 29-year-old cop tailed the suspect onto the platform of Union Square subway station, ABC 7 reported. When Benjamin Mazyck, 42, boarded the northbound uptown Q train, the officer had the train held until additional law enforcement arrived.
Mazyck was arrested and charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to authorities, the suspect is a transit recidivist who was last arrested on May 14, 2020, for grand larceny. Officials recovered a broken pair of scissors from the scene.
The officer was transported to Lenox Hill Healthplex for medical attention.
In May, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an additional 250 police officers would be deployed to subway stations, making the number of cops patrolling the transit system the highest its ever had, Daily News reported.
Roughly 3,250 NYPD officers will cover the transit system, including desk officers and supervisors who aren’t in the field.
“Anyone who commits an offense on the subways will be found, will be prosecuted, will be held accountable,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “We’re going to take officers and put them in right places in the subways at the right time, particularly at peak times of ridership.”
The extra officers will patrol the stations during morning and evening rushes, earning overtime in addition to their typical shifts, an NYPD spokesman said.
The bolstered security in subway stations comes after the department faced a staggering 75 percent increase in officers who quit or filed for retirement in 2020 compared to the year before, according to data reported by the New York Post.
In total, the NYPD saw 2,600 officers quit the job and another 2,746 file for retirement, for a combined 5,346 leaving or planning to leave the force. In 2019, 1,509 officers quit and 1,544 more who filed for retirement, for a total of 3,053 who chose to leave the force that year.
The approximately 5,300 officers leaving the NYPD represent about 15 percent of the department’s force. With the number of cops that have left after 2020, the department has seen the overall headcount drop from 36,900 at the end of 2019 to 34,974 as of April 5. So far this year, 831 officers have left the NYPD.
“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant, told the New York Post. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”