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NYC women on edge amid rash of random punching attacks detailed on TikTok

Women in New York are concerned about their safety after a frightening rash of random, unprovoked assaults in the city have been reported on TikTok, with some avoiding the subway and others making sure not to walk alone.

Two men were charged this week for separate incidents that were the subject of recent TikTok videos in which the victims said they were punched by strangers. At least four other attacks occurred on city streets this week, police said, causing worried women across the boroughs to take extra precautions when venturing outside.

“I definitely don’t go out at night. Past 8 p.m., I’m in my house unless I’m with somebody else,” said Christina Burke, 28, of Sunnyside, Queens.

“I was scared, because they’re hitting random people. So you don’t even know if it’s a specific type of person they’re looking for,” said Burke, who added that she drives instead of taking subways.

“That’s really bad, because women now can’t be safe outside,” said Karen Alexandra, 28, of Flushing, Queens, who runs a beauty studio. “So if it’s late, we can’t go outside. We have to always be with a lot of women, or men. We can’t be alone. Never.”

Catalina Prieto, 29, said the TikTok videos were circulating on a WhatsApp group she uses to message with friends when she learned a classmate was the victim of a random assault last week near Union Square.

“He just came to her when she was on the phone,” said Prieto of the classmate, who was hit in the arm rather than her face when she moved to avoid the stranger’s punch.

“She was just scared and kind of like, ‘This is happening, for real,’” said Prieto.

On Wednesday, cops arrested political gadfly 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. Monday.

Skiboky Stora
Skiboky Stora

During his arraignment on Thursday, Stora, who has frequently run for political office as a fringe candidate, went on a prolonged rant, claiming that he had been framed.

“Now they bring me here and say they have video footage of me punching somebody that I never met and have never seen,” he said before a judge ordered him held on $10,000 bail. “That’s denying me due process, and the same officer is a white supremacist member who has arrested me.”

On Thursday afternoon, cops arrested Mallik Miah, charging him with assaulting TikToker Mikayla Toninato in Greenwich Village Monday.

Toninato was on Fifth Ave. and E. 12th St. at 2 p.m. when Miah struck her, said police. 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 the social media platform right after being punched by Miah.

The day after Toninato was assaulted, Miah was arrested for punching a 53-year-old woman in Fort Greene, said cops. He was arraigned and released in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Miah was arraigned Friday in Manhattan Criminal Court for the attack on Toninato and released without bail — with Assistant District Attorney Johnathan Leventhal noting he wasn’t able to request bail despite Miah’s arrests for multiple attacks because the Brooklyn arrest happened after the assault on Toninato.

Police are looking into a flurry of other random assaults on women in Manhattan, some of which have been posted about on TikTok.

On March 17 at 11:48 a.m. on Kenmare and Mulberry Sts., TikToker Olivia Brand, 25, was struck by a man who initially apologized to her, she said.

On March 17, 2024, on Kenmare and Mulberry Sts., TikToker Olivia Brand, pictured, was struck by a man who then apologized to her. (TikTok)
On March 17, 2024, on Kenmare and Mulberry Sts., TikToker Olivia Brand, pictured, was struck by a man who then apologized to her. (TikTok)

“He goes ‘sorry’ and punches me in the head,” said Brand on a video she posted afterwards. “What the hell is happening?”

A 36-year-old woman was punched in the back on Monday at 10:15 a.m. while walking on Rivington and Chrystie Sts. in the Lower East Side, cops said.

On Tuesday at noon, a 24-year-old woman was attacked by a man who slammed the left side of her head with his elbow while she walked on Seventh Ave. near W. 39th St., according to police.

Also on Tuesday, a 24-year-old woman was hit in the head by a stranger in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, police said Friday.

Surveillance video shows a suspect who allegedly punched a woman in the head on 6th Avenue near West 23rd St. on Tuesday afternoon.


Surveillance video shows a suspect who allegedly punched a woman in the head on Sixth Avenue near W. 23rd St. on Tuesday afternoon.

The victim was walking along Sixth Ave. near W. 23rd St. about 12:45 p.m. when the stranger stormed up and punched her in the head, then ran off without saying a word, cops said.

The woman wasn’t seriously injured. Cops scouring the area found surveillance video of the attacker, who was wearing a black bubble jacket and a hooded sweatshirt.

Cops on Friday could not say if Tuesday’s attack in the Flatiron District was linked to one of the TikTok videos.

Police on Friday released images of the suspect in the Flatiron attack in the hopes someone recognizes him. He’s described as Black, about 35 years-old, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds with a medium build.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.


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