The New York Police Department arrested Cornell alumnus Eric Cho ’18, an Applied Economics and Management major, after an altercation involving two New York Police Department officers. According to an NYPD statement sent to The Sun, during the altercation, Cho ran to the driver’s side of the police car, grabbed the officer behind the wheel by his throat, choked him and punched him in the chest.
The statement stated that two plainclothes NYPD officers encountered Cho around 12:45 a.m. Saturday morning when the officers were driving eastward on East 28th Street in an unmarked car in Manhattan. Cho then allegedly crossed into the intersection into the path of the police vehicle, which had the right of way.
The officers signaled the siren to alert Cho that their vehicle was approaching, but had to “[step] on the brakes to avoid striking him,” according to the statement.
After the police vehicle stopped, Cho assaulted the officer on the driver’s side. The other officer then exited the vehicle and identified himself as a police officer. According to The New York Daily News, during the ensuing struggle, Cho “flailed his arms” and kicked the first officer in the chest.
Two passersby saw the situation and intervened to assist the officers, according to the NYPD statement. One of the passersby was Armand Grega, a former auxiliary cop from Queens, New York, according to the Daily News.
“He had to be mixed martial arts trained, the way he was swinging,” Gega told the Daily News. “It took four of us to apprehend him. Everything happened so quick.” Cho’s LinkedIn page indicated that he was a member of the men’s fencing team while at Cornell.
Cho was then transported to Bellevue Hospital for treatment of a “laceration” on his forehead, according to the statement, as well as a psychiatric evaluation, The Daily News reported. The officer was treated for injuries to his wrist and shoulder.
Cho was charged with assault on a police officer, criminal obstruction of breathing, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, according to the NYPD statement.
However, according to The New York Post, Cho’s lawyer Andrew Hoffmann denied the charges filed against Cho, claiming Cho is “small” and “a very intelligent, nice kid from a very, very nice family.”
“Here you had a kid who has zero prior contact with criminal justice. He’s never been in trouble, never been in a fight,” Hoffman told The Post. “There are times that young people have a few drinks, but the idea that this guy could somehow be a threat to experienced police officers is just not credible.”
Hoffman also told The Daily News that the officers stopped Cho for “jay-walking” when he was walking home. “He was drinking … and my hunch is he said something to the cops which pissed them off,” Hoffman said.
According to The Post, prosecution requested Cho be held on $10,000 bail but a Manhattan judge released him without bail, and he is due back in court October 17.
Cho and his lawyer did not respond to inquiries from The Sun about the details of his charges and court proceedings by the time of publication of this article.