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Police arrest suspect in brutal sucker-punch of young woman in Greenwich Village

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | A 6th Precinct detective recently arrested a man accused of randomly punching a young woman in Greenwich Village — so hard that she was left with a concussion.

The collar, at the end of last month, came amid a wave of young women — including a TikTok influencer — saying they were victims of similar unprovoked street assaults.

Speaking on March 29, Captain Jason Zeikel, the Greenwich Village precinct’s commanding officer, said a 27-year-old woman, four days earlier, had been walking past the CVS store at the southeast corner of 14th Street and Fifth Avenue, when a stranger suddenly punched her on the right side of her face.

Police generally do not release ID information on crime victims. The New York Post, in a March 27 article, identified the victim as Mikayla Toninato, a fashion student at Parsons School of Design. Like other recent sidewalk sucker-punch victims, she was looking down at her phone when she was attacked.

“I didn’t see him coming at all,” Toninato told the Post. “I screamed out of shock. He knocked my head back so hard I just kind of like gasped and screamed. … I was frozen with fear. I was pretty paralyzed and I just stood there trying to figure out what happened. … I was crying. I instantly had a black eye.”

Toninato, who lives in Brooklyn, afterward walked a block over to Union Square to tell a police officer she had been assaulted. The officer reportedly said a nearby addiction center at 19 Union Square West has been responsible for “an uptick in random acts of violence in the neighborhood.”

Toninato then went to an emergency room for treatment, where she was told she had a concussion.

Captain Zeikel said a precinct detective was at the scene the next day collecting video evidence of the assault, when he spotted the alleged suspect — who happened to be right at the location — and arrested him.

Miah Mallik, 30, whose last known address was in Brooklyn, was charged with misdemeanor assault in the third degree. He currently has no other open cases but does have prior drug arrests on his record.

Despite the vicious assault that left the young victim concussed, Zeikel reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will be asking for supervised release for Mallik since it’s not a bail-eligible crime.

“He’ll have to check in with someone,” the captain explained. “There will be certain parameters he’ll have to follow.”

Halley Kate Mcgookin, a TikTok influencer, said a man randomly punched her in the face at 16th Street and Seventh Avenue (which is in either the 10th or 13th Precinct, depending on the side of the avenue) around 10:20 a.m. the same day Toninato was attacked around 2 p.m. Mcgookin, who similarly was looking down at her phone when she was struck, said she fell to the ground and blacked out.

“I was literally just walking and a man came up and punched me in the face,” Mcgookin, who has 1.1 million followers on TikTok, said in the video viewed more than 40 million times, the Post reported.

Despite the recent flurry of reports of young women being randomly sucker-punched on the street, Toninato’s was the only assault of this kind reported directly to the 6th Precinct, Zeikel said.

“Everybody’s talking about this stuff on social media,” the commanding officer said. “But we can’t do anything until a complaint is made and is reported — it’s evidence of a crime.”

Social media posts, for example, might show only the aftermath of an alleged crime, not the actual crime as it’s being committed, he noted.

“We need the victims of these crimes to call 911 when these incidents happen,” the captain stressed. “Or walk into their local precinct and make a report so we can investigate these crimes.

“We can’t guess the location of every crime off of Twitter and Instagram,” he explained. “We just need them to make a report. Call 911 and police will come [to the scene] and take a report, will get you medical attention, whatever you need. If time goes by, walk into your local precinct [and file a report].”

A couple of hours after Zeikel spoke with The Village Sun, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Mayor Adams’s chief adviser, said lawmakers must do more to ensure that violent individuals are off the streets.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the mayor’s chief adviser, during a virtual meeting with the city’s ethnic and community media, said laws need to be changed to get violent individuals — who are often mentally ill and need help — off of the streets. (Photo by The Village Sun)

During a roundtable session with members of the city’s ethnic and community media that was focused on Women’s History Month, Lewis-Martin was asked about the recent spate of sidewalk punching incidents against young women.

“We believe that if some of the laws were changed, some of these people that are out on the street would not be committing crimes,” Lewis-Martin responded.

“The vast majority are mentally ill — these people need help,” she said. Meanwhile, some others that might randomly hit people or commit other crimes, she added, are not necessarily mentally ill but just “deviant.”

She said it’s up to “everyday New Yorkers” to let their elected officials know that change is needed.

“We need you to elevate your voices,” she said, “to let the people that you elected know… to get them off the streets, get them the medical help they need.”

Lewis-Martin blasted what she called the city’s current “revolving door” criminal justice system. She said that, instead of street punchers being “locked up and remanded for a period of time… . We can’t hold these people. It’s a revolving door.”

Over all, though, the Adams adviser said crime in the Big Apple is not as bad as some media outlets make it out to be.

“It’s seen on TV, it’s broadcast,” she said. “People only see the bad stuff, so they feel unsafe. We’re really much safer than what perception gives.”

In related news, in another recent incident, in the 13th Precinct, police said that on Wed., March 20, around 4:30 p.m., a 33-year-old woman was walking in front of 32 Union Square East when a stranger came up from behind and punched her in her face, then fled northbound on Park Avenue South. The victim’s injuries were minor and she refused medical attention at the scene.

Police say they are looking for this man in connection with a random punching attack on a 33-year-old woman on Union Square East. (NYPD)

In addition, police reported an arrest has been made in a couple of recent area groping incidents.

On April 3, in the 10th Precinct, Tyheem Menardy, a 26-year-old homeless man, was arrested for forcible touching and sexual abuse. He is accused of, first, on Tues., March 26, around 10 a.m., touching the groin of a 34-year-old woman as she walked at Ninth Avenue and 16th Street. In a second incident a few minutes later, he is accused of touching the buttocks of a 52-year-old woman as she walked at 10th Avenue and 18th Street.


  1. Barry Drogin Barry Drogin April 12, 2024

    I’ve lived in the Village for 45 years, and the perception and nature of crime and danger has evolved. First we didn’t even have bike lanes, now you know you have to look both ways, because some cyclists go the wrong way on a one-way street. The tabloids, former New Yorkers and Republicans exaggerate and sensationalize crime (and crime statistics) to sell newspapers (or get views and shares), justify leaving or get votes. When de Blasio tried to address mental illness (ThriveNYC, anyone?), he (and his wife) were ignored and mocked. Okay, so I was walking home one night, and a guy swiped a plastic bag at me (he muttered, “white guy,” so I know it was racist). Happened so fast, and he was moving so fast, couldn’t do anything. So that’s never happened to me before, it was a low-level assault, and I don’t know that I can act any differently to keep it from happening again. If it’s a trend, well, so is getting hit by bicyclists (I once was punched by a cyclist for standing in a bike lane, so I learned not to do that, and I have a friend who was seriously injured jaywalking from being hit by a speeding cyclist). Things change, we adapt, New York will always be dangerous and there will always be crime. Can we do more about the mentally ill? Can we do more about those without housing? Yes, and anything we do will help. And then we’ll move on to the next crime (like cybercrime, scams, frauds, etc.).

    • Ali Ali April 13, 2024

      I get what you are saying but I think there is a difference now than compared to a bunch of years ago….

      There has long been a need to look out, be mindful of crime — some places are OK while others in sad and dire straits.

      But still, in some areas at least, the City was still livable — rents were high but neighborhoods not super-gentrified, there were local stores not dystopian Amazon, stuff was not locked up, you could walk and not worry about bicyclists, there were not “menacing” people everywhere….

      But now the City feels completely horrible and every day is a depressing dirty hassle at best and a scary one at worse — elected officials care only for:

      1) the young healthy wealthy who gentrify, get instant-gratification delivery, Starbucks, use Citibike and

      2) migrants and homeless.

      It is truly amazing to walk on a nice day and see the juxtaposition — younger upscale people eating at outdoor cafes while Amazon delivery workers are schlepping stuff and elderly with canes just trying to find space to walk on the sidewalk…..

      If you don’t fit in the current “privileged” categories, you are not of any interest — except that you need to pay taxes to support everyone else.

  2. Jon Keller Jon Keller April 12, 2024

    A country that is participating in genocide of Palestinians and a modern history of wars of aggression around the world, with over 800 military bases, and internal occupying armies in poor Black and Brown communities, how can we expect peaceful and humane communities?

    • Alan Jules Weberman Alan Jules Weberman April 12, 2024

      So these assailants were justified in their random attacks because of racism?

      • Jon Keller Jon Keller May 18, 2024

        Understanding a cause is not justification.

    • Michael M. Michael M. April 13, 2024


      • Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost April 15, 2024

        Yes? What do you mean? I don’t know this acronym. If it’s obscene, I’d rather not know. If it’s “Get the @!XX))%$ outa here,” leave that one alone. I’m not getting outa here.

    • Rob Rob May 13, 2024

      Get out of here, you white gentrifier hypocrite.

  3. John Charles Nason John Charles Nason April 11, 2024

    As a retired lawyer, having practiced 40+ years in Maryland, I am truly astounded by the system of justice in NYC, or rather the lack of justice for victims.
    Mayor Adams strikes me as an apologist for the horrendous lack of consideration for the victims of crime in his city.
    The great city of New York deserves better.


    Why people don’t report these crimes — “Despite the vicious assault that left the young victim concussed, Zeikel reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will be asking for supervised release” …an exercise in futility.

  5. Lisa Lisa April 11, 2024

    Sadly there are many of these “low-level” violent street crimes.

    A complicated and scary issue because they are relatively “low-level” felonies — but it is pretty clear that the alleged perpetrators might have perpetrated much more violence and/or be escalating.

    The City’s criminal justice system is not structured to handle this.

    In many instances, alleged perpetrators are “released”/no bail pending adjudication. There aren’t really any proper (residential) mental health assessment and/or substance abuse services.
    So the perpetrators are then back on the street.

    It is insane that the City is building borough jails.

    Rikers has space — and should be used to build:
    1) a new humane jail with necessary mental health/drug treatment/medical/educational services (plus free bus service for visiting families.)
    2) a voluntary non-detention residential service facility where people can get residential wraparound services.

    • carl Rosenstein carl Rosenstein April 18, 2024

      You forgot to mention a debit card with a thousand dollars a month, a laptop and I-Phone 15

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