STATEN ISLAND — The New York Police Department has released street surveillance video that shows a man walking up behind a city traffic agent and punching him in the neck.
Officials say that the 50-year-old NYPD traffic agent was walking near an intersection in Staten Island shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday when Divon Cochrane, 25, of Clinton Avenue, Staten Island, approached from behind and punched the agent in the throat.
He turned himself in on Thursday evening and has been charged with assault and harassment.
Surveillance video shows Cochrane walking down the street while holding a cellphone to his ear. As the ticket agent crosses the street, he slips up behind him and punches the agent with his left fist.
The agent fell to the pavement and was temporarily knocked out. Emergency crews responded and took the agent to a hospital where he was treated for head and neck injuries before being released.
Police sources said it's unclear if the traffic agent had written a summons for the man or someone he knows.
A witness told PIX11 News there was "no reason ot hit a guy, just because he's doing his job." Another witness said the attacker "cold-cocked him, plain English, that was pretty nasty."
The president of the union representing uniformed traffic enforcement agents said the agent was alone and walking a foot post with nothing more than an NYPD radio, ticket scanner and printer. Syed Rahim said he wants the city to do more to make his members' jobs safer.
"Give them dual patrol in bad areas," he said. "Give them bulletproof vests."
The union wants traffic agents to be designated peace officers with the goal of deterring those who look to do them harm.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).