The video of a police officer using his baton and quick reflexes to hold off a group of staggering men at a downtown Manhattan subway station on Sunday night has earned the admiration of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, "What extraordinary professionalism and bravery by NYPD Officer Syed Ali. Attacking our men and women in uniform won’t ever be tolerated. The NYPD is upping its presence at this station and others to ensure officers have the support they need."

A police spokesperson told Gothamist that Officer Ali was posted at the East Broadway stop on December 23 around 10:30 p.m when he responded to a passenger complaint about a group bothering her. Video shot by a bystander shows Ali on the platform, and three of the men approaching the officer, who yells at them, "Step back! Step back! I don't want to hurt you!"

The men can be seen approaching Ali, who kicks at them and strikes them with his baton. At one point, a man who lurches towards Ali loses his balance and falls onto the subway track.

The NYPD said that Ali asked for power to the subway tracks to be cut while helping the man back onto the platform. The five men, who range in age from 27 to 36 and are all homeless, were not arrested for the incident with the police officer. They were at first taken into custody by police and treated for their injuries, but the following day, Monday, December 24, officers returned to the station and charged all five with being outstretched in the train station, a violation of MTA rules.

City Council Member Chaim Deutsch also praised Ali:

Deutsch added, "Why were the attackers released? Were they offered mental health treatment and shelter, or are they back out on the streets, free to assault somebody else, or worse? Many unanswered questions."

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch criticized Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance's office for not charging the group over the altercation with the police officer. Lynch said in statement yesterday, "The district attorney’s job is to prosecute crimes, not to act like a social advocate... These men chose to drink to excess and then to attack a police officer like a pack of jackals when given a lawful order to move on. They should be held accountable for their actions.”

A spokesperson for the D.A.'s office told the Post, "When people are arrested for attacking officers, we prosecute them. These men were not arrested for attacking an officer. They were arrested for sleeping on the floor of a subway station — a rules violation, not a crime." The spokesperson added, "We have not prosecuted this violation since March 2016 under a policy jointly established with the police commissioner and mayor."

The video prompted former police commissioner Bill Bratton to suggest that the bad old days could be coming back:

The Daily News visited the East Broadway station on Christmas, reporting, "One of the alleged attackers returned Tuesday night to the scene of the fight, the East Broadway F train stop on the Lower East Side. He crawled under a turnstile and did a somersault, and confirmed to reporters that he was one of the men in the fracas. He then ran off."