The NYPD officer caught on viral video fending off a band of subway vagrants without reaching for his gun has handled himself well under pressure before — he’s a U.S. Army veteran who’s served in Iraq and Afghanistan, police said.
He also made headlines in the past for speaking out against racial profiling after he was detained at Kennedy Airport.
The mayor on Tuesday praised Officer Syed Ali’s “extraordinary professionalism and bravery” during the wild melee viewed more than four million times on Twitter.
Ali’s actions also earned him a citation from Councilman Chaim Deutsch, and the NYPD Muslim Officers Society, of which he’s a member.
“We’d like to commend him for his use of restraint where he made sure that he utilized the minimum (force) necessary,” said Capt. Adeel Rana, the society’s president..”It might have something to do with his military training but the majority of it is him being calm under pressure situations.”
1 COP DEADASS BATTLING AGAINST AN ARMY OF CRACKHEADS 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/SW61Cw3mLC
— MAADY (@Ahmaadnyc) December 24, 2018
Meanwhile, the police officers’ union blasted the decision by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office not to pursue charges against the five homeless men who attacked the brave cop.
“There’s no telling how much damage these mopes would have done to that courageous police officer had he not been equipped to handle them. Had it gone the other way we might have had a seriously injured or dead police officer instead,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
“It’s wrong that they were not charged for attacking him. The District Attorney’s job is to prosecute crimes, not to act like a social advocate.”
Ali, an Army reservist, has been deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan and saw combat during a 2008 deployment to Iraq.
Despite his service, he was detained for hours at JFK for extra screening in April 2017 when he returned home from Istanbul, then threatened with arrest when he asked how long he’d be held, he told the New York Times at the time.
“I feel like my rights were violated,” Ali told the Times shortly after the incident. “Are you telling me that every guy with the last name Ali is a terrorist? Are you telling me every guy with brown skin coming in from overseas is a terrorist?”
Ali was assigned to a solo counter-terrorism post at the East Broadway F train stop in Lower Manhattan Sunday night when a woman approached him and said a group of homeless men were harassing her. He told them to leave and they “approached him aggressively,” police sources said.
Cell phone video captured what happened next — Ali used a baton and his feet to keep the men at bay as they came at him, one by one. One of the men lurched at him and fell onto the tracks, and the officer called MTA officials to cut power to the third rail, then radioed for help.
Police took five homeless men into custody — Oseas Garcia, 32, Juan Munez, 27, Raul Ruiz, 29. Elisoe Alvarez Santos, 36 and Leobardo Alvarado, 31 — at first processing them as intoxicated emotionally disturbed people.
After the fight, one of the men mugged for a camera from his hospital bed, belting out a tune, video obtained by the Daily News shows.
The golden-throated man warbles in what sounds like an attempt to sing a popular tune by Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Ozuna.
He’s all smiles as someone off-camera tries to guide him through the lyrics.
All five returned to the station after their release and cops hit them with local law violations for laying on the subway platform.
Police sources say vagrants often flock to the end of that platform to drink and get high.
“The NYPD is upping its presence at this station and others to ensure officers have the support they need,” de Blasio said in his tweet praising Ali.
Extraordinary Bravery on the Streets of Fallujah
Between November 7 and 9, 2004, a remarkable thing happened in Fallujah: It rained. Throughout the preceding summer, while our rifle platoon waged a counter-insurgency in Haditha, Hit, and other Anbari backwaters, it never rained. Within the platoon we had a pool—ten bucks got you in—try your luck and pick the first day of rain. When the dust finally turned to mud all 46 of us were staged just outside the city, hunkered down in slit trenches, waiting for the assault to begin.
I don’t remember anybody collecting on the pool.
All it takes is the sight of someone sprinting along a wet crosswalk and I’m back in Fallujah and back to one street in particular: Highway Ten. Veterans of the battle each have their story of crossing Highway Ten’s expansive four lanes covered by machinegun fire, with insurgents dug into the buildings on the far side, defending this, their main line of resistance. The story of Gunnery Sergeant Ryan Shane, a Marine from my infantry battalion, has always remained close. On November 9, his rifle platoon perched on a rooftop, covering another platoon that rushed the crossing’s gauntlet. Within minutes, a slug ripped through the leg of Sergeant Lonny Wells, felling him in the open. He lay face down, blood pooling around his waist, moving just a little. Leaving his rifle behind so it wouldn’t slow him, Ryan went after Lonny.
A Marine combat cameraman captured the scene in four photographs. In the first, Ryan stands in the wet street, bent over Lonny. His 220-pound frame tugs the drag strap on Lonny’s body armor. In the second, another Marine runs to Ryan’s side, trying to help. Clumsily, the second Marine bends over Lonny while Ryan keeps pulling. The next frame was taken just as a bullet tears into Ryan’s lower back, scrambling his stomach. He’s on his heels, falling. The other Marine watches in a half sprint, heading for cover. The final frame is Ryan and Lonny, both laying face down on the street in the rain.
Lonny is dead. Ryan will survive.
The photos ran in Leatherneck Magazine—the magazine of the Marines—a month later under a simple headline: “Uncommon Valor.”
Nearly two years later, during the Al-Anbar Awakening, 50 veterans of the Fallujah Battle gathered in an auditorium in Camp Lejeune. Ryan Shane would be decorated for his actions. Since Lonny died, Ryan’s 220 pounds had shrunk to 150. After countless surgeries, he’d been medically discharged from the Corps. The toll his stomach wound had taken on his body could be seen in his atrophied frame, but it was the forced separation from the Corps he loved which left the deeper wound. You could see that in his eyes.
I sat in my uniform, a few rows back. We came to attention as the adjutant read the citation for Ryan’s Bronze Star. Our Commanding General pinned it on his chest, and ceded the floor to Ryan. He thanked his family for their care during his slow recovery. He thanked the Marines who ran to his rescue that day. Then his voice thickened. He held his stare upwards, holding it on the auditorium lights, as if speaking to a place outside that room.
“I’m finding it really hard,” he said, “to accept that my greatest achievement as a Marine, this medal, also comes from my greatest failure. I didn’t save Lonny that day.”
Afterwards, one by one, we left our seats and shook Ryan’s hand. Many of us went on to serve more deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. A battle as big as Fallujah never came along again, though there were many others like it.
In valleys, hamlets, and cities too countless to number, Ryan Shane’s words held true. Our greatest achievements were bound to our greatest failures. Just as in Fallujah, we wound up destroying many places in order to save them. Looking back through the years, this final point seems undeniable to me.
It’s old as war.
In recent months, with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham in Anbar Province, or the increased influence of the Iranian Government in Iraq’s internal affairs, quantifying whether our efforts in that country were worthy of our sacrifice seems an increasingly complex and unknowable arithmetic. Each of us has tallied the personal cost and come to a solution. As memories cloud, and in some cases burn, I imagine our solutions will change.
In hindsight, the only thing I know with complete clarity about Fallujah, the Iraq War, any war, is that achievement always couples with failure. Like a lot of guys, I learned that in the rain.
Memorial day essay by Elliot Ackerman (The News Republic).
Recruiters get Special Ops boost with vehicle training
Twenty-eight specially-wrapped trucks and trailers featuring Air Force Special Operations decals were delivered to recruiters of the 330th Recruiting Squadron at Scott Air Force Base recently.
These trucks and trailers have spray paint-style camouflage and feature several Battlefield Airmen, which will be used by special warfare recruiters around the country to increase awareness about career fields within Special Operations.
Many people may not know there are combat controllers and pararescuemen or Battlefield Airmen who perform countless rescue missions.
Because of this, it’s important to find other ways to spread the impact of their mission, said Master Sgt. Sean Christian, Headquarters Air Force Recruiting Service NCO in charge of event marketing.
“These trucks and trailers will be the first exposure a lot of people have to Special Operations,” Christian said. “The trailers that you see here are miniature activation trailers, and they’re used at events like air shows or fitness competitions.”
The trailers will hold about 13,000 pounds of equipment, including a TV, canopy, pull-up bar, jerry cans, and more. They will enable recruiters to fully engage with potential recruits at events.
To help the recruiters transport the trailers and use the trucks safely, members of the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation element hosted a unique training opportunity for them.
During the training, LRS Airmen familiarized recruiters with how to attach and remove the trailer, as well as how to maneuver and park the vehicle correctly.
“Obviously, this is a great opportunity for my ground transportation Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Todd Martin, 375th LRS ground transportation section chief. “Sure, it’s simple training with trucks and trailers, but they get to see the end result and the impact they’re making Air Force-wide.”
Christian added that these trucks are another step in closing the bridge between Special Operations and recruiting, ensuring the best and most qualified recruits are being put into the Special Operations pipeline.