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NYU administrator punched in unprovoked attack like those reported on TikTok: police

A stranger sucker-punched a New York University administrator at Washington Square Park as random, unprovoked assaults, some of which have been reported by TikTok users, continue south of 42nd St., officials said.

The 27-year-old administrator was walking along Washington Square North near Fifth Ave. in Greenwich Village at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when the stranger stormed up to her and punched her in the face.

The woman suffered a bruise to the right side of her face, but declined medical attention.

The assailant ran off. An NYU memo about the incident said it was being investigated as a hate crime and “might be tied to reports of a series of similar unprovoked attacks on women.”

Fifty people, mostly women, have been victims of random assaults in Manhattan below 42nd St. over the past month, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said Tuesday.

For the week ending Sunday, 10 people were randomly assaulted in the area, where most of the attacks reported by TikTok users have occurred, Kenny said.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny briefs the media on the apprehension of Raad Almansoori, a suspect in the Feb. 8 murder of Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, at One Policer Plaza Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)
NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny briefs the media at One Police Plaza on Feb. 20,. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

There have been 95 random assaults reported below 42nd St. so far this year, a drop of 14 compared with the same time frame last year, Kenny said.

Out of the victims this year, 50 were women, he said, adding that a majority of the assailants are homeless and have mental health issues.

There is no indication the attacks reported on TikTok have created copycat incidents, Kenny said.

Two men were charged last month in separate attacks that were the subject of TikTok videos in which the victims described being punched by strangers.

On March 27, cops arrested wannabe politician Skiboky Stora, who they say assaulted TikTok influencer Halley Kate Mcgookin near W. 16th St. and Seventh Ave. in Chelsea at 10:20 a.m. two days earlier.

Skiboky Stora, right, is alleged to have punched Halley Kate Mcgookin as she walked near W. 16th St. and Seventh Ave. on Monday. (TikTok; Obtained by Daily News)
Skiboky Stora, right, is alleged to have punched Halley Kate Mcgookin as she walked near W. 16th St. and Seventh Ave. (TikTok; Obtained by Daily News)

On March 28, cops arrested Mallik Miah, charging him with assaulting TikToker Mikayla Toninato in Greenwich Village the same day Mcgookin was attacked.

Toninato was near Fifth Ave. and E. 12th St. when Miah allegedly struck her at about 2 p.m., police said. According to a criminal complaint, Miah, 30, identified himself in a still image taken from surveillance footage of the attack. Toninato posted a video to TikTok right after being punched recounting her ordeal.

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