'Call the cops, I don’t care': Shocking response of man who choked and punched mom as she walked toddler

'Call the cops, I don’t care': Shocking response of man who choked and punched mom as she walked toddler
(Representational image, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A career criminal who is accused of choking a mother, and pushing her child in a stroller, before attacking another woman in a Manhattan park has reportedly taunted one of his victims by saying, "Call the cops, I don't care," prosecutors said on Wednesday, October 19, reported New York Post. Argenis Rivera, 33, was charged with strangulation, assault, and endangering the welfare of a child for the random attacks on two strangers in Chelsea's Hudson River Park on Monday, October 10. He was ordered held in custody on a $25,000 bail. 

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According to the criminal complaint against Rivera, he approached the first woman just before 1 pm as she was running with her 2-year-old in a stroller, wrapped his arms around her neck, and squeezed. The complaint claims that he then punched her in the face and as a result, she had a cut to her upper lip. He's been arrested 12 times before. According to police sources, River has a history of mental health problems. In August, he was accused of punching a doorman at a Midtown building, but due to the state's lax criminal justice reforms, the assault charge did not qualify for bail, so he was freed.

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As per the prosecutors, the mother was pushing her toddler in a stroller when she was attacked and despite the stroller almost tipping over, the child was unharmed. The mother of two, 43, believed she "was going to die." "I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t get out," she told NYPost, adding that she was thinking about leaving New York because it "doesn't feel safe." The mother also said that Rivera, the career criminal allegedly told her during the attack that he wanted to "die by suicide." Recalling the shocking incident, the mother said, "My daughter is 2 years old, and she’s sitting there in silence as the guy is choking me and punching me and saying 'F—k the NYPD."

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According to the complaint against him, Rivera then turned his attention to the second victim, 37, who was seated nearby and had "something sharp to her neck." Before he allegedly put his hands around her neck and squeezed, he said, "F—k you, bitch; go ahead and call the cops, I don't care." "Then the defendant laid on top of the woman punching her in the face," Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Brianna DeMilia stated in court.

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The 37-year-old victim claimed to have heard Rivera shouting "f—k that white bitch" and rambling while being attacked. Rivera reportedly flailed his arms and struck one of the arresting officers in the face when police took him into custody near a bus stop close to the park, according to DeMilia. 

Rivera remained motionless during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday as public defender Jonathan Ko asked for his client to be placed on suicide watch.

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His next court appearance has been scheduled for Friday, October 21.

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