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Questions Raised After Revelation That Suspect In Assault On 92-Year-Old Has Been Arrested 101 Times

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- We're learning more about the career criminal accused of attacking a 92-year-old woman in Gramercy Park.

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Police are trying to track down a man seen on video shoving a 92-year-old woman in Manhattan. (Credit: NYPD)

A veteran law enforcement officer says the current system is failing the perpetrators and the police.

Chilling surveillance video shows the moment the 92-year-old was thrown to the ground in broad daylight last Friday, her attacker watching as she hit her head on a fire hydrant.

"I was all bloody," she told CBS2. "This man did nothing except change my life and almost kill me."

Police say the attacker is 31-year-old Rashid Brimmage, a registered sex offender with at least 100 arrests for charges ranging from assault, to resisting arrest and persistent sexual abuse.

Former NYPD chief Kevin Harrington says Brimmage is a case study in why the city's no-bail policy needs to be revisited.

"When you have sweeping reforms like this, they allow for a menace like this to be on the street, and ultimately it's communities who pay the price," Harrington said.

"It seems like somewhere along the line, his need for mental health services was not addressed. would you agree?" asked CBS2's Jessica Moore.

"I absolutely agree," Harrington said. "I don't want to say the system failed him, but perhaps if he was incarcerated other agencies would've had the opportunity to get him the help he needs.... The questions I have is, who's holding our social serves to a higher standard? Someone's got to be responsible for that element of society, and if it's not going to be law enforcement, who is? What measures are taken to improve those services?"

Rashid Brimmage
(credit: CBS2)

According to an NYPD source, Brimmage was flagged for mental illness in 2018 and folded into what is now the Thrive program, a partnership between NYPD and city's Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

A mental health expert says the system failed Brimmage.

"He needs somebody to say to him, 'Hey, look let's talk about this. Let me try to help you,'" said mental health professional Jennifer Abcug. "Even just 'let me try to help you' is very different than throwing him in jail."

The NYPD has no information on how he was handled in the mental health system, and CBS2's Freedom of Information request for his records has not yet been granted.

We also reached out to Brimmage's public defender for comment, but have not heard back.

Brimmage will be back in court in July.


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