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DA Alvin Bragg responds to criticism after assault on NYPD officers in Times Square

Manhattan DA confronts criticism over NYPD officer attack in Times Square
Manhattan DA confronts criticism over NYPD officer attack in Times Square 02:03

NEW YORK - After migrants accused in the assault on NYPD officers in Times Square were released without bail, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg faced more criticism Friday over how the case was handled. 

It comes as police continue searching for more suspects in the Times Square assault. 

Bragg spoke for the first time Friday since the incident on Jan. 27 where two officers were assaulted by a group of men near a migrant shelter.

"In Manhattan, we don't tolerate or accept assaults on police officers. I watched the tape this week. Despicable behavior. It sickened me and outraged me," he said. 

Bragg said the reason four of the suspects, who officials say are migrants, were released without bail is because of evidence his office had then.

"While the video is shocking and disturbing, in order to secure convictions in a court of law, it is essential that we conclusively identify each defendant," he said.

Watch Jennifer Bisram's report

Manhattan DA Bragg addresses criticism over officers attacked in Times Square 02:57

The two members of the NYPD were attacked by a group of men as they attempted to break up a disorderly crowd outside of a city migrant shelter in Times Square.  Officials said most of them are migrants. 

"In a court of law, our profound obligation is to make sure we have right people charged with the right crimes. I don't think New Yorkers want to charge the wrong person," Bragg said. 

Seven of the 13 alleged attackers have been arrested and charged with assaulting an officer. Only one is being held on Rikers. Officials said the others were released without bail.

"My number one priority is protecting the people of this state, and any time there's an assault on a police officer, which is a very serious offense, it is bail eligible, and bail should be sought," Gov. Kathy Hochul said.   

Earlier this week, Hochul said the suspects should be deported

"That's still a pending investigation," Hochul said. 

"Bail should have been set on those individuals. It was a serious felony and bail should have been set. Why it was not set, I do not know," New York Attorney General Letitia James said. 

Police sources told CBS New York four of the men who were released may have left the city. It's unclear where they are headed, and if they will return for their next court date later this month. 

"There is no evidence in this case, evidence, of any flight. We are investigating allegations of it," Bragg said. 

There's mounting criticism from elected officials, including the governor, and the NYPD, with top brass saying this is another bad example of bail reform

"My response is that we have an obligation in the court of law to prosecute the right people with the right charges. That's what we are doing here. We have more information now then we did on Saturday. I predict we'll have more in a few days then we have now," Bragg said. 

Bragg says the video is just the start of his investigation. He's now looking for additional video and witnesses to make sure the right people are charged with the right crimes.

"This is the beginning of the process. We will go forward to indictments, and we will hold those accountable who did these heinous acts," he said.

All suspects are facing felony charges. 

The DA says he spoke to the governor Friday at a conference but remained mum about their conversation.

In the meantime, we're told both officers are recovering. 

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