"Spider-Man" arrest may lead to Times Square regulations

Snoopy, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, Spider-Man and a Turkey attend a rally in Times Square on March 9, 2011, in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- The latest unsavory incident involving a costumed character in Times Square is strengthening calls for the city to regulate Spider-Man, Elmo and pals.

On Saturday night, a man dressed as Spider-Man wound up in cuffs after he allegedly assaulted a police officer following a dispute with a woman.

According to authorities, the police officer was standing at his post at West 42 Street and Broadway when he witnessed a male -- identified as Junior Bishop, 25, of Brooklyn -- dressed as Spider-Man take a photo with a man and woman.

The woman then tried to give Bishop a $1 tip, which he allegedly refused. Police said the crime-fighting hero then put out his hand and told the woman he only accepts $5, $10 or $20.

Overhearing the exchange, the police officer told the woman she can donate whatever she wants. At which point, Bishop told the officer to "mind your own (expletive) business," police said.

Authorities said Bishop continued to yell, curse and argue after the officer told him that while he may accept tips, he was not allowed to request money.

After the officer requested identification and Bishop could not provide any, he was placed under arrest, police said.

While the officer attempted to arrest Bishop, the costumed man allegedly broke free and punched the officer in the face, resulting in swelling around the cop's eye and a laceration to his face.

Additional police officers arrived on the scene and were able to take Bishop into police custody.

Bishop is charged with assaulting a police officer in the second degree, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and misconduct.

Bishop's mother answered the phone at their Brooklyn home late Saturday and said he was not home. She said she was not aware of his work in Times Square or his arrest. Information on Bishop's lawyer was not available.

The officer, who has been on the job for a year and a half, was taken to NYU Langone Medical Center, where he was treated and released, police said.

"This place is a zoo," one man in Times Square on Saturday night told CBS New York.

"You just don't know who's behind the costume," another woman said.

The incident comes on the heels of several other arrests of characters in Times Square.

In late June, a different Spider-Man was arrested for allegedly groping a New Yorker. In that same week, a completely different Spider-Man was convicted of harassing a woman in a Times Square spat.

There also have been recent reports of a brawl between two Statues of Liberty, and a man dressed as Woody from "Toy Story" allegedly groping women. And in April 2013, a man dressed as the Cookie Monster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly shoving a 2 1/2-year-old boy.

Some business and city leaders have been calling for the costumed characters to be regulated.

"Quirky is fine. Creepy is not," Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, told CBS 2.

"Our feeling is that there are honest folks who are out just trying to earn a living. But there's also some folks who are taking advantage of people."

City Councilman Andy King, D-Bronx, is drafting legislation to license the people behind the masks, reports CBS New York.

The bill under City Council consideration would require licenses and background checks for costumed performers but copyright issues have held up final approval, since most of the costume wearers are not authorized by the characters' owners.

Earlier this month, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he will "pursue an effort to regulate the activity."

Some of the costumed workers insist Bishop's actions are his own.

"We're not bad, you know," a woman inside a Minnie Mouse costume told CBS New York.

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