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Police no longer believe that 4 migrants accused of assaulting NYPD officers fled to California on a bus, source says

This screengrab from a New York Police Department video shows a group of alleged migrants assaulting two New York Police Department officers near Times Square in late January. - New York Police Department

Editor’s Note: This headline and story have been updated to remove inaccurate information and reflect new reporting. An earlier version said that four of the suspects were believed to be headed to a California town near Mexico; that reporting was based on a February 1 interview with a senior law enforcement official. The official told CNN on February 14 that police now believe an individual giving police a tip had misidentified the men, and that investigators no longer believe the men fled on a bus.

New York City police no longer believe that four of the suspects arrested and subsequently released following an assault on NYPD officers in Times Square fled the city on a bus to California, a senior law enforcement official told CNN on Wednesday.

The same senior law enforcement official told CNN on February 1 that four of the suspects who had been arrested in the January assault of two NYPD officers were given bus tickets by a faith-based charity and were currently en route to Calexico, California.

The day after the release of four men arrested in the January assault, city officials received a tip from an individual who claimed that they had recognized the four men from television and that the men were given bus tickets by a faith-based charity that the person worked with, according to multiple law enforcement officials. The individual was subsequently interviewed and identified the men from photos, the senior law enforcement official said.

The NYPD asked police in Calexico to visit an address provided by the charity, where those police found no one who recognized the subjects.

One of the individuals believed to have fled was later arrested in New York City on robbery charges. That arrest, and the investigation in Calexico, led police to believe that the tip was a misidentification.

The January altercation erupted after officers tried to break up a “disorderly group” outside a migrant shelter near Times Square, police said.

When the officers tried to take a person into custody, “multiple unidentified individuals repeatedly kicked and punched the officers in the head and body” and later fled on foot, police said. The officers had minor injuries and were treated on the scene, police said.

The incident follows an increase in migrants and asylum-seekers arriving at the US-Mexican border, many of whom have made their way to major cities either on their own or on buses chartered by Texas. Approximately 67,000 migrants are under New York City’s care, among more than 173,900 who’ve arrived in the city since spring 2022, a City Hall spokesperson told CNN earlier this month.

CNN’s Chimaine Pouteau and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report, which has been updated with additional information.

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