A man has been arrested for randomly assaulting a young woman on a New York City street

NEW YORK (AP) — A man has been arrested for randomly assaulting a young woman who was walking down a New York City street earlier this week, police said Wednesday.

The arrest comes after several videos went viral on social media showing women describing being suddenly hit by a stranger on a Manhattan sidewalk in recent weeks, though the NYPD wouldn’t say if the arrest was related to one of those incidents.

The 40-year-old man was arrested in connection with an assault on a 23-year-old woman in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on Monday morning, police said. Details for the suspect’s attorney were not immediately available, and his lawyer in two pending cases in Manhattan did not immediately respond to an email message Wednesday.

The woman told police she was walking near West 16th Street and 7th Avenue when an unknown person hit her in the head and knocked her to the ground, injuring the left side of her face.

One of the videos that has racked up millions of views on social media in recent days shows a popular TikTok user in the same location on Monday describing being assaulted while walking down the sidewalk looking at her phone.

The same day, another popular TikTok user, describing herself as a student at the nearby Parsons School of Design, uploaded a video saying she was punched in the face after leaving class, also while looking at her phone texting.

When asked if the suspect was being investigated for similar assaults, the NYPD said only that “the investigation remains ongoing.”

In one of the suspect’s prior cases, court records show he is accused of assaulting someone at the corner of West 17th Street and 8th Avenue on Sept. 20 2023, and another person on West 17th Street a little over a month later. In both cases, the victims took photos of their attacker, which police allege both showed the same suspect.

Records show he pleaded not guilty to all charges in both pending Manhattan cases.

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