The man believed to have been responsible for kicking off a brawl between police and a mentally ill man in a Brooklyn nail salon was released without charge on Saturday.
Dewayne Hawkes, 26, was arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing following a Friday early evening incident at Goldmine Nail Salon in Brooklyn, New York.
Police said that Hawkes had gone into the nail salon, asking to use the bathroom there. When denied, Hawkes allegedly went to the kitchen, locked the door behind himself and then could be heard urinating inside, according to a complaint obtained by the New York Daily News.
Dewayne Hawkes, 26, was arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing, and released without bail on Saturday, according to reports
Hawkes (pictured) is believed to be responsible for the incident which kicked off a deadly melee between a mentally-ill t-shirt vendor and police officers Friday evening
When Hawkes left, a salon worker claimed to have seen urine on the kitchen floor.
The employees then complained to the NYPD officers they flagged down that a man had come into the salon and started urinating all over the floor in front of disgusted customers.
A warrant check revealed the rogue urinator – since identified as Hawkes – had an open warrant for criminal mischief.
NYPD Officer Lesly Lafontant in a photo from his Facebook page. He is in a medically-induced coma after an attack by a T-shirt vendor in Brownsville
The fatal brawl began when the two officers, a veteran and a rookie, began taking Hawkes into custody.
Kwesi Ashun, 33, a T-shirt vendor who is well known in the neighborhood, apparently rushed into the salon and tried to stop the arrest, attacking the two officers.
Officials said that Ashun went berserk, beating the veteran officer over the head with a chair, as the rookie tried in vain to subdue him with a Taser. The veteran managed to pull out his gun and shoot at Ashun six times, hitting him at least once in the head.
Ashun was declared dead at the scene.
T-shirt vendor Kwesi Ashun, 33, was fatally shot by officers after he attacked them as they tried to arrest Hawkes in Brooklyn on Friday
Police say that Ashun (pictured) attacked the officers with a chair as they tried to arrest Hawkes. The Taser they used had no effect on Ashun, at which point a veteran cop shot at him
Ashun (pictured) was said to have been bipolar and have a history of brutally assaulting police
Friends and family of Ashun (pictured) were outraged at his death, wailing and screaming at NYPD officers at the scene
Hawkes managed to escape from the scene, but was caught by authorities a short time later.
Police identified the veteran officer Saturday as Lesly Lafontant, 53, who has spent 21 years on the force, according to the newspaper.
Following the attack, Lafontant was rushed to the hospital with head injuries, and placed in a medically induced coma, where he is in critical but stable condition.
The rookie, meanwhile, was taken to another hospital and treated for ringing in his ears.
Authorities have not named the rookie who was said to have been on the job for seven months prior to the incident.
Hawkes’ arraignment was said to have been held Saturday at Brooklyn Criminal Court.
Although it was initially said that he charges against him were dropped, it turned out that Hawkes was freed without bail to a supervised release program until after the hearing was over.
Officers are seen here Friday night outside the nail salon following the fatal shooting
Police are seen here Friday night securing the scene after the two officers were injured and Ashun was killed
A bystander was seen Friday night, shouting at police who were investigating the incident
The incident occurred at this nail salon in Brooklyn. The officers were flagged down after Hawkes allegedly entered the premise seeking a bathroom, before urinating on the floor
A spokesman for the Brooklyn DA’s office told the newspaper that the case is continuing.
It’s unclear why exactly Hawkes was released without bail.
The New York Post reported that Hawkes has a history of past arrests, including being taken into custody for allegedly spitting on an officer who was charging him with failing to pay a cab fare in December 2017.
Police sources also told the newspaper that Hawkes was arrested in January 2016 after he allegedly choked, punched and bit his mother inside a public housing building.
His friends and family were outraged at his death, wailing and screaming at NYPD officers at the scene.
‘He struggled with mental illness and we tried desperately to get help for him to no avail,’ his sister, Ama Bartley, 35, told the New York Post.
She said that Ashun had an October 14 appointment with a mobile crisis team from the city Department of Health.
But health workers determined after a short visit that he was not a threat to himself or others, she said.
‘Eleven days later, this is what happens,’ she said. ‘We tried, we really tried to get him help. He was a beautiful soul. He was just battling some heavy things.’
Ashun’s relatives say he was bipolar. He is also said to have had a record of brutally assaulting police.
Ashun was known to run a sidewalk stand selling T-shirts and caps that he hand embroidered.
Police representatives blasted the assault on the officers, the latest such incident in New York.
Last week, two uniformed officers were assaulted from behind while attempting to detain a man in Brooklyn.
Over the summer, numerous uniformed officers had buckets of water dumped on them by unruly gangs.
‘An attack on a uniformed officer doing his duty is an attack on society at large,’ Benjamin Tucker, the first deputy police commissioner, said at a news conference after the incident on Friday. ‘And we can’t have that.’
Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, was even more outspoken.
‘Once again we had police officers responding to a call for help from the public and was set upon,’ Lynch said.
‘This police officer spent his career in our busiest precincts serving the community. And he was set upon. For no reason!’