By Joy Bergmann
The man charged in two violent, seemingly random attacks against two women near 79th and Broadway Thursday morning was issued pre-trial release on Friday, according to online court records.
Darrell Johnson, 28, went before a criminal courts arraignment judge for two Manhattan cases, one this week and one from 2020.
Regarding the Thursday incident, Johnson was arraigned on a top charge of two counts of assault with intent to cause physical injury, a class A misdemeanor. He was also charged with multiple attempted assault and harassment charges.
In the pending 2020 case, Johnson received a top charge of one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury, along with harassment and attempted assault charges.
According to the NYPD, Johnson has been arrested 15 times.
Some readers have asked WSR to publish a photo of Johnson. Asked for a photo, an NYPD spokesperson emailed, “We do not disseminate photos of arrested individuals.” NYPD did provide this physical description of Johnson: “Darrell Johnson is a male, Black, 28-years-old. 6’0” tall, weighing 165 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair, and has tattoos on his arms including a heart and the word, “mob.”
Johnson is not the same man who has frequented the southern median at the 79th and Broadway intersection for more than three years.
Under current New York State law, most defendants are to be released prior to trial: “the court shall release the principal pending trial on the principal’s own recognizance, unless the court finds on the record or in writing that release on the principal’s own recognizance will not reasonably assure the principal’s return to court.”
Incoming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s position on pre-trial detention appears to be aligned with current law, according to his Day One Memo: “Presumption of non-incarceration. Non-incarceration is the outcome for every case except those with charges of homicide or the death of a victim, a class B violent felony in which a deadly weapon causes serious physical injury, or felony sex offenses in Article 130 of the Penal Law.” Bragg includes some exceptions to that rule “in extraordinary circumstances.”
WSR attempted to reach Johnson’s public defender as well as prosecutors from the Manhattan DA’s office. We will update this story if they respond.
Johnson is next due in court on February 1, 2022.
UPDATE 12/5/21: A spokesperson from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office emailed WSR additional details on Johnson’s cases.
According to the D.A., in August 2020, Johnson allegedly punched a man, knocking him to the ground; he then allegedly kicked and stomped on the victim’s head and body. The assault-in-the-third-degree charges for this incident are misdemeanors and not eligible for monetary bail; Johnson was released on his own recognizance.
For the December 2, 2021, assaults allegedly committed by Johnson, the Assistant District Attorney asked for and received supervised release, the D.A. spokesperson said. [Again, the charges of assault-in-the-third-degree are not bail-eligible offenses.] Johnson’s release terms are “Tier 2, Level 4.” According to this City web site, Johnson must have at least five contacts with officials during the first month of release, then two phone check-ins and two in-person visits per month.
“We do not disseminate photos of arrested individuals”
I thought mugshots were public records.
I would like to know what this guy looks like, so if I see him on Broadway I can cross to the other side. Guess I have to hope I see that tattoo on his arm.
It’s pretty clear the powers that be have no regard for public safety.
Here’s an article about this same case.
If you want a photo of the accused – check it out here. These mug shots are public records. No law is broken by showing them.
The problem is not the police. The mug shots that used to be in the post office were from the FBI. The police often post surveillance or wanted posters from time to time, depending upon the case and when the perp is unknown or wanted. They cannot issue a photo of someone who has not yet gone to trial and is, under the law, presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Unfortunately this is yet another thing that was passed by our current representatives putting us all in danger
“Individuals with criminal convictions face significant economic and social barriers to their successful reintegration into society. The FY 2020 Budget includes legislation to eliminate blanket statutory bans on occupational licenses; remove the mandatory six-month suspension of driver licenses for drug offenses, unless the crime involved driving; prevent the release of mugshots that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose; modernize criminal history reporting to prevent past arrest information from being used against someone for civil purposes, such as employment, housing, and licensing; and outlaws housing discrimination based on arrests not leading to a conviction.”
Thanks for the update Joy. From looking at Mr. Johnson’s rap sheet it is hard for the average reader to understand why it appears that–even after 15 arrests mainly for assault with intent to cause physical harm–he is still not being held accountable for his actions. Your work in helping readers understand this is incredibly valuable. You and the Rag should be commended for your community service.
“Johnson is not the same man who has frequented the southern median at the 79th and Broadway intersection for more than three years.”
Are they referring to Karl?
If Johnson isn’t due in court for 2 more months then it’s absolutely necessary to provide a photo. Or are we just supposed to avoid everyone who fits this description? Right back to step #1. 🙁
I was walking with my son at about 11:30 this morning near this intersection and Karl was screaming and ranting while holding a beer can. We crossed 79th Street mid-block to avoid him, which was not something that is wise to do but it was safer than going near him.
We looked for a police officer but there were none in sight. Even if we found one, there likely is nothing they could have done. But it is a sad statement about our neighborhood – we are prioritizing Karl’s “rights” over those of the rest of us to have a peaceful existence. The man needs help, and leaving him to live like this does not help either him or us.
This is truly an outrage. At some point the voters of NY need to wake up.
I have no sympathy for anyone who is upset by this but then continues to vote for people like Alvin Bragg or Maya Wiley…. individuals who are worsening the very circumstances by which dangerous lunatics are allowed to roam free and beat old ladies in the street with impunity. It is these very people who are feeding us a lie that we must allow this in our communities because systemic racism exists.
I share the concern about poor people not being able to afford bail and about the racial composition of the incarcerated. However, that does not compel us to release dangerous and/or mentally ill people into the street to prey upon our friends and family members. Lastly, it is not ‘humane’ to have these people waste away on the street without treatment– if that is what they need to come back into society. I hope my fellow UWSers will make better voting decisions next time because I don’t see this getting any better with the incoming administration.
I completely agree. I do not see how the number of crimes the person has committed doesn’t factor into this. Someone who is a repeat offender should not be back on the streets. Especially not for two months.
I saw the handwriting on the wall and voted for Crotty for DA. I wish others had also done so. Even Weinstein would have been better than Bragg. And this was at the top of Danzilo’s agenda but despite lots of alleged supporters posting here, she got very few votes.
I am still waiting for someone to explain the logic of this. It is really common sense. Someone who has been charged more than a few times should stay in jail. Case closed. Particularly someone being charged with a violent crime.
Thank you very much to WSR for the update and for your excellent reporting on this. Please continue to follow up on this.
I also voted for Crotty. Maybe next time.
Leon – I, too, felt Crotty’s platform aligned closest with my own views; however, the pre-election predictions showed that she stood no chance. although I liked Crotty the most of all the DA candidates, I wanted to only vote for who had a reasonable chance at winning, and so I voted for Weinstein. I think everyone who did vote for Crotty would have been happier with Weinstein than they’ll be with Bragg. If those Crotty votes had instead been cast for Weinstein, Weinstein would have won. So,just something to consider for the future: see who the leading candidates are and if your fave doesn’t stand a realistic chance, pick the more attractive top contender.
voter: You are 100% correct – I just checked the results and if you add Crotty and Weinstein together they beat Bragg. I struggled with my vote a lot and told many people that I wished the DA race had been ranked choice as that would have solved this problem – I would have voted Crotty 1, Weinstein 2 so my vote would have ended up with Weinstein. I was not convinced that Weinstein was dramatically better than Bragg, and Preet Bhahara’s endorsement of Bragg made me think he couldn’t be that bad. But in hindsight, I think she was definitely at least somewhat better so would have been a better option rather than wasting my vote on Crotty.
I am a straight-line Democrat and would have voted for the Republican in the general election but it was a lost cause.
The good/bad news is that Bragg was actually more moderate than a few of the other candidates. Good that they didn’t win, but scary that those people are out there receiving votes.
I’m repeating myself but “the court shall release the principal pending trial on the principal’s own recognizance …” presumes that the person has cognizance. A person who unleashes all his strength from his six-foot-high body on the head of a woman who is probably a foot shorter than he is and is said by a witness to have then finished this act with a gleeful and self-congratulatory look/gesture lacks what is commonly seen as cognizance and is a menace to ordinary citizens. I’m not an organizer but if someone organizes a demonstration, I’ll be there. Enough. And we don’t really know Eric Adams from Adam, so to speak, so I’m not exactly counting on him.
I just received a notification from the JCC about an event Thursday night at 7 via Zoom titled “Justice in Action” featuring the new borough president, Mark Levine. It is free.
I don’t know how much power or desire he has to create change but he is better positioned to do so than the rest of us. Perhaps some of us can join and ask him how he plans to deal with this issue that is a major concern for many of his constituents.
Thanks for letting us know about this Carlos.
someone please do this. I will be there. Seems likes its the only way people will listen. We pay taxes and expect a certain level of safety in this city. Let’s all remember we pay a premium to live here. Kind of laughable now.
I’d like to know who the people are that are responsible for passing the bail reform law that came into effect Jan 2020.
Is this something that we as voters allowed to get passed? Or is this something that was passed right under our noses like many other things that I’ve been reading as of late that are being passed by Hochul without a lot of public discussion.
Either way, we need to be more discerning about those we elect to public office and keep up with legislative bills that are being presented. Lobbyist interests supersede community matters so much of the time. In the end, we reap no reward and pay severe consequences.
Here you go:
And, Cuomo actually signed this into law? Also, I thought the number of prior arrests was supposed to play a role in the bail decision?
Thank you for the link. I have emailed the Senator and urge others to do the same.
Clearly, the list of qualifying offenses for which those arrested can be held needs to be expanded, if we as a community do not want violent offenders out on the street. As a woman who is about to enter my senior years, I may have to reconsider if NYC is the place to spend them.
Couldn’t agree more, DC. I too, am a “woman of a certain age” born and raised in the city but I’ve never seen such rampant random crime committed against people ( as opposed to “just” robbery, B & E, etc). Most of my life I considered myself a somewhat progressive democrat but truth be told, the bail reforms enacted are a license to continue to commit crimes and I’m all for rolling back the bail reforms enacted, as soon as possible. I don’t give a rat’s a– anymore about the conditions in jail; if you have a history of violence against individuals, stay locked up and get 3 hots and a cot – more than many honest hardworking decent people can count on.
Yes these policies are driving away common sense voters who are largely Democratic. I would much prefer to bring back stop and frisk even if it prevents these everyday atrocities.
I don’t know what your “certain age” is, but if you were alive and living in NYC in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you certainly remember that the violent crime rate then was roughly five times what it is now. What’s going on now is not good and needs to be addressed, but we need to keep things in perspective.
David, the difference is back then there were safe neighborhoods and unsafe neighborhoods. You had some measure of control over risk, based on where you were. No longer.
WSR would you do us a great public service and publish a comprehensive list of local phone #s and emails of our elected officials so we can bombard them with pleas/demands for change? Thank you tremendously.
As a victim of a random felony assault on Riverside Drive October 19, 8am, I have been working with the wonderful officers and detectives at the 26th Precinct but it is obvious we are in desperate need of legal changes.
Our new Mayor can’t be sworn in soon enough!
Hopefully the new mayor WILL do something.
What is it you think Adams is going to do that will be different?
He was a Police Captain.
I tried to publish my comment earlier several times starting last summer but WSR chose not to publish it for some reason.
I was also attacked by a homeless woman with a knife a few years ago at 86 and Broadway. It was also unprovoked, I didn’t even see her when she jumped at me from behind, during the day, with lots of people around. Thankfully she missed. People called police, police came and took her away. She didn’t even attempt to run, she stayed where she was screaming till the police got her. They said they would take her to the hospital psych ER and she will be out in 24 hours because she didn’t kill me.
I still shudder remembering this. Cases like this are not going away anytime soon with current leadership. Look at what our new DA Bragg is saying. And I’m sure most IWSers voted for him simply because he is a Dem. I used to vote Dem, it now it is all about the candidate regarding his party affiliation.
Hopefully soon Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace human judges and we won’t have to worry about this. Studies show that AI, when given basic facts such as age, criminal history, etc., could better predict whether the the detained person should have to post bail or not (show up for court date, not commit any more crimes while released.). The human bias that we are introducing here is biased towards criminals!—not towards public safety. And we’d be better off with AI. See Malcolm Galdwells book “Talking to Strangers” where he cites the study.
The suspect who FATALLY stabbed the Columbia grad student and stabbed an Italian tourist this week had been arrested 11 times. This guy has 15 arrests.
I understand presumption of innocence but don’t kids get thrown into Rikers and await trial for less (i.e. allegedly stealing a backpack)?
Was the preliminary evidence here so shoddy that there’s significant doubt that he’s the perpetrator? Does the legal system keep track of his whereabouts?
Would the victims have had to have died in order to get this person into a holding pen until trial? Is that what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances?” If the victim lives, the suspect can go?
no anymore. No one goes to jail for any of crimes hardly while waiting for trial. Some women was arrested 3 times in one week for ant semitic attacks and everytime was let out.
Fifteen prior arrests. Good thing he’s kept on the streets. I’m sure he learned his lesson. I feel safe.
I understand that you do not want to lock up someone who stole a gallon of milk because they can’t make bail bit when someone repeatedly violently injures someone shouldn’t common sense dictate that person needs to be removed from society immediately. Sad that we have to wait for them to kill someone for this to happen. We seem to be living in the twilight zone. Welcome to our fair and equitable society.
Everyone who is outraged and voted fro Bragg what did you expect? He was clear on this fromt he get go
There was no ranked choice in the DA election.
Definitely some of us preferred other candidates like Liz Crotty- but concerned that would be a wasted vote and possibly allowing a win by unfit, unqualified reality show personality Eliza Orlin
Out of curiosity for those who ignored the safer streets voter cheat sheet, why were you so die hard to vote for Bragg?
This! Coupled with a murder of a Columbia student… What would wake people up? The perpetrator who has a pending case for one count of assault with intent to cause physical injury violently assaults a female without provocation and gets released again! Who is mentally ill here?
1. The perpetrator.
5. Society that enabled politicians to enact the laws that recycle violent criminals yet expects different results?
This is exactly what decay of society looks like – the country destroying itself. Demonstrations – absolutely? Reaching out to politicians and letting them know that they will be out sooner than later – definitely. Enough is enough!
Do we know if we can get access to a mug shot at least? For him to just be released back into the neighborhood without any knowledge of what he looks like seems like absolute lunacy to me. This is really a shame, I hope we all look out for each other. Thank you to “Mike” from
The previous post’s update for chasing the guy down.
My hopes for more safety / law & order with the election of Eric Adams were dashed when I read the incoming DA Bragg’s policies. Sadly many who clamor for more safety also probably voted for this guy, whose policies are antithetical to anything like that. Anyone paying attention to the mess in San Francisco hang on – Bragg looks to be just as bad as theirs. We may be in for a rough ride.
Agree with concepts in bail reform/pre-trial release, but the actuality in NYC is problematic and dangerous.
Instead of the expensive and logistically unworkable City plan to build new jails in 4 boroughs (in residential areas), Rikers should be rebuilt as a therapeutic campus with excellent drug rehab, mental health, vocational etc.
For people who would otherwise be released pending trial, participation could be a choice in a semi or non-secure facility.
Better than out on the street
Offer free shuttle bus service to relatives, attorneys.
If you agree, message elected officials
I don’t think DeBlasio or City Hall care about your demonstrations.
He will either not return to court (why would he?) or receive no meaningful punishment if he does.
He attacked two defenseless older women for no reason. He is not fit for civilized society.
This is pure lawlessness.
I voted for (moderate) republican candidates in the last election for the first time in my life. This is why. If the government can’t protect us from criminals, what are they good for?
Just curious – what moderate Republicans were there? I guess you can argue Sliwa was moderate but he is also not mentally all there. The Republican for DA had no chance.
I am a moderate Democrat who has gotten fed up and would vote for a moderate Republican for state or local office. Nationally I couldn’t do it as the balance of power is too critical, and I don’t think many moderate Republicans exist nationally anymore anyway – all remaining Republicans in national politics have sworn allegiance to Trump, so they are a non-starter.
The weakness of the laws that “protect” NYers from physical attacks have been weak for a very long time. In most normal places when a person interferes with your free movement the have assaulted you, if they strike you or make physical contact they have battered you. Usually either counts as a felony or a higher grade misdemeanor.
New York on the other hand has “menacing” laws that are sort of like assault but unless someone really does some damage to your person the law treats it as a nothingburger.
So most NYers shudder at the idea of self defense with the logic that the less weapons walking around, and by weapon I mean not just guns, but knives, sticks, etc most of which are outlawed, there will be less violent crime against persons.
The folly of that logic has been on display since the 19th century. Maybe one day we’ll learn that there are people who do bad things. They may be ill, they may be drugged but whatever the reasons they do bad things.
I’m sorry, much of what I am seeing in here is abject fear-mongering & frighteningly authoritarian.
a) mugshots are NOT public. NYPD releases them in violation of arrestees’ rights to the tabs, and has done so for a long time. There’s no right to access that info.
b) These responses by large fit 2 categories “don’t blame me I voted for the arch conservative who wanted to lock everyone up”, or “we need to lock people up BEFORE they do things because they are mentally ill or don’t have somewhere stable to live or are holding a beer can and yelling/having a bad day.”
Get a grip, people. We are experiencing a FRACTION of the violence that defines much of the Bronx, further uptown, and Midtown. Maybe we should focus on, I don’t know….putting some of these folks in stable housing facilities where they can get treatment? Perhaps psychiatric help? NYC tried Mano Duro in the 1990s and 2000s, and got into serious trouble with the courts because of wanton civil rights violations.
Think twice what you wish for.
So is that your idea of goal setting and benchmarking. Well, we’re not as bad as the most crime ridden part of the city so things must be good. Aim high, dude, aim high.
Did ANYONE on the UWS even look into Thomas Kenniff who was running for Manhattan DA? He had worked on both sides, from a prosecutor’s role and a defendant’s role and was an Iraq veteran, level headed & had common sense. I bet NO ONE in this neighborhood gave him a look, except me, because he had an (R) next to his name. WELL NOW YOU SEE WHAT THAT BRINGS US! Vote for the person for now on or this ALL CONTINUES! Wake up!!! Stop with the down the line voting. This has been brought upon ourselves by the voting in this neighborhood.
I voted for him!
How the F is kicking and stomping on someone’s head and body classified a misdemeanor?
This is such bullsh*#. How does Alvin Bragg sleep at night? 79th Street is 3 blocks from my apartment. The new Mayor can’t do anything about this really. Crime (petty or otherwise) is an affront to every taxpayer.
In view of the defendant’s pattern of random street attacks, it’s idiocy for the NYPD to refuse to release his photo. What are we supposed to do to stay out of harm’s way? Return to the vile practice of racial profiling?
What previous mayor would have stood for this?
Mayor Elect Adams: Be fair, be reasonable, and remember that a leader’s first and primary responsibility is the safety of the citizenry. You have a great opportunity here to restore trust in government. In so many ways, NYC feels less safe than it has been in decades. Help Us!!
The repeated unprovoked violence by this person points to untreated mental health issues. Is he a danger to others- I’d say yes and wonder why on the basis of repeated offenses, this person was not sent to a psych ER for evaluation, observation and treatment. Kendra’s Law should be used to the max. J
Does anyone know which elected officials representing the upper west side voted to enact these NYS laws? Just asking.
Yes, bail reform had our Senator Robert Jackson’s approval. That is known for sure and Helen Rosenthal supported it also but Senator Jackson voted for the no cash bail reform. It covers 4 pages worth of illegal activities, including stalking, assault, 2nd degree manslaughter.
NYS law on Bail is insane- a class A misdemeanor SHOULD REQUIE BAIL. IS TIS STATE AS CRAZY AS CALIFORNIA
Kind of outrageous. A person arrested twice for multiple instances of attacking and injuring people for no apparent reason and we can’t get an ID on him. It’s like walking around your neighborhood knowing there is an explosive device that can go off at any moment but we have no idea what to look for. How does this make sense? Is every 6 foot tall blackman supposed to be treated as if he is a rage-filled time-bomb? Should we all carry bats around in case we think we are in his sites? Is he under surveillance by police? Crazy.
This is the same precinct that told me a video of a drug deal on my street where there’s a school wasn’t sufficient evidence. The police have to see it with their own eyes…that can’t be true, can it? Videos are just to help enforce laws and for evidence as far as i thought . So much for civilian help. George Floyd and Ahmad Ambery’s videos were admissible … maybe the precinct didn’t get the memo.
We need a photo so we can’ be aware and protect ourselves as best we can since the UWS seems to be on our own. The Wild West.
This offender will clearly repeat and is a danger to all citizens particularly the upper West Side area he frequents. Whether mental illness or pure violent, this person should be retained before appearing in court. Anyone who thinks of returning to this area in spite of loving it all, should be fore-warned. it is vert sad for citizens.
All of the rants here should go to our elected officials.
As one poster wrote here–and I couldn’t agree more: It is inhumane to keep mentally ill human beings ranting and raving on the streets, roiled in their own waste and, potentially dangerous, prisoners to their own madness.
It is also unfair to us to have human beings prostrate on sidewalks or living in public spaces with no proper sanitation facilities.
This is a commentary on our society.
As for Civil Libertarians concerned about such rights for the mentally ill, please tell us what type of freedom are those severely disabled individuals expressing?
We need a new generation of leadership. Vote out Jerry Nadler, Chuck Schumer. Nadler seems to run unopposed.
We need term limits on these entrenched politicians.
Punches a man in the head, knocking him to the ground then kicked and stomped on his head and body – this is a MISDEMEANOR in the penal code? How insane is that.
Exactly. How is stomping on someone’s body and head is a misdemeanor? Should definitely be a felony. And possibly not just assault in whatever degree but an attempted murder? Or there’s nothing between a misdemeanor and murder?
Can’t wait to be finally rid of Blah Blah Blahsio and his criminal friendly ways!!!
The UWS is paying a heavy price for his incompetence!
More support for the criminals and little to none for the victims.
When will the madness stop?
Thanks for reporting on this. I was as liberal as it gets my whole life, the way Democrats ruin our city with their policies made me vote Republican for the first time. It is unbelievable how they do not seem to care about our safety. We should not pay taxes for this.
You finally got it. As did I.
Don’t mix up Karl in all this mess. He’s been on the Broadway median for 7 years and never hurt a soul. If he ‘s ranting snd raving ( not always the case) just stop ans say his name loudly. He will stop raving. He will appreciate the human contact. A friendly helllo. Karl now has housing and is getting some treatment. Alcohol still a problem, but getting better. There are many in the neighborhood who help care for him. You can be one.
In short order we will be reading how this person that we aren’t allowed a photo of killed an innocent similar to the two students murdered in Morningside Heights. The City is no longer safe, feels dirty and aggressive yet very low turnout for the last election. It is devastating to witness the decline since DeBlasio and his ilk took office foisting these destructive policies on the population.
good thing you live in Flordia
Are 15 previous arrests not enough to ensure that a person will not return to court. When is enough enough and a menace to safety on our streets is kept off of them.
Are you kidding me? Stomping a person on the ground is a 3rd degree charge….no bail, so he does it over and over again and continues until her kills. Only then is bail required.
It is apparent that the individual needs help; so does the community! We need to be protected against bodily harm from this individual – who apparently does not recognize citizen’s rights. The article presents the assailant’s rights, but not the community’s! Apparently the “supervised” release is insufficient to protect ALL!
Wow…5 contacts! Is that before or after he assists someone else. Well that will teach him. I’m disgusted
What’s happening is destroying our city.
Don’t just bitch on WSR, email your state & city representatives.
We voted for Blasio and his liberal cohorts. We now care more about the criminal than the victim. So we deserve what we now have. Live with it.
How much bodily harm does an person have to inflict on the public before he is held in custody?