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Guardian Angels restrain man they claim is migrant shoplifter on live TV, later say they have no proof

The NYPD did not address the migrant shoplifting claim, saying only that the man "had repeatedly attempted to interfere with and disrupt a live television interview."
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New York City's Guardian Angels tackled to the ground a man they claimed was a migrant who was caught shoplifting during a live TV interview, but they later said they have no proof of the claims.

Police would say only that the man was allegedly trying to disrupt the broadcast, and they did not comment on the claims he was a migrant shoplifter.

The encounter happened Tuesday as Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa was doing a live television interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity about migrant crime in New York City.

As Sliwa spoke, several members of the private, unarmed crime prevention group quickly moved off camera.

"In fact, our guys have just taken down one of the migrant guys right here," Sliwa says, pointing at a spot behind the camera. "On the corner of 42nd and 7th while all this is taking place. They've taken over. They've taken over."

 Curtis Sliwa at a protest in NEw York in 2023.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.Paul Frangipane / VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images file

The camera pans to show several Guardian Angels surrounding the man before they take him to the ground and appear to restrain him.

"He is out of control, out of control," Sliwa says.

Sliwa told NBC News on Wednesday that the incident began when the man hit a female Guardian Angel, prompting the group to initiate a citizen's arrest.

"There’s like three guys rumbling with people in the crowd," he said. "But then they come up to the location of the broadcast as the broadcast is going on … and then the one guy socks a female Guardian Angel. Everyone who is behind me now goes rushing toward the location, and they take down the person who hit the Guardian Angel."

Sliwa said during the Fox News broadcast that the man was a migrant who had been shoplifting. He told NBC News that he based that information on what people in the crowd said and alleged that the man had a backpack that contained "baby clothes with tags on them."

"He had been shoplifting first, the Guardian Angels spotted him, stopped him, he resisted, and let’s just say we gave him a little pain compliance," he told Hannity. "His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations." Sliwa did not provide any evidence for the claim the man is from Venezuela.

"He’s sucking concrete, the cops scraped him off the asphalt, he’s on his way to jail, but they’ll cut him loose," Sliwa continued on the show. "We’ve got to take 42nd Street back, Sean. These illegals think they own this street. They think they rule the night. This is our country."

A police spokesperson said in a statement that officers responded to a 911 call about "a disorderly male" and that when officers arrived, the man was "being detained by bystanders."

"Officers were informed that the male had repeatedly attempted to interfere with and disrupt a live television interview. The male was issued a summons for disorderly conduct," the spokesperson said.

The man was issued a summons because "he was observed by officers to be acting in a loud, disorderly threatening manner on a crowded sidewalk causing public alarm."

Police did not respond to questions about whether the man was a migrant, whether he had been shoplifting, whether they would investigate Guardian Angels’ handling of the situation or whether the group had the authority to restrain him.