Man dressed as Spider-Man arrested in Times Square after attacking police officer

Junior Bishop’s spidey-sense gets him charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief

First Elmo from Sesame Street yelled anti-Semitic slurs at children. Then Woody from Toy Story allegedly groped two young women. Now, as New York City lawmakers consider legislation to regulate costumed characters in Times Square, a man dressed as Spiderman has been charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest after he allegedly punched a policeman in the face.

The impersonator was dressed head to toe in the Spider-Man outfit while allegedly telling New York tourists he only accepted $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills for people to have their picture taken with them.

But as Peter Parker was told by his uncle; “With great power comes great responsibility,” which a police officer clearly wanted to point out to the chancer after he overheard the amount the fake Spider-Man was charging tourists.

Junior Bishop, 25, was let down by his Spidey-sense when he swore at the police officer who told tourists he was obliged to accept donations of any amount they chose, and continued to swear as the New York cop asked for his identification, which Mr Bishop said he didn’t have.

 

 

Mr Bishop then revealed his true identity as he tore off his mask and threw repeated punches at the police officer who had tried to arrest him and who was then backed up by a second officer, as they took the not-so-friendly-neighbourhood Spider-Man down. 

The fracas was caught on video while other street performers dressed as Mickey Mouse, Elmo and Batman stood by and watched.

Mr Bishop has been charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief. The officer was taken to a medical centre to be treated for pain and swelling to the face.

“The real Spider-Man would never have done something like this,” an officer told The New York Post, while another source was quoted as saying Mr Bishop had been arrested seven times. Mr Bishop was arrested in April this year for allegedly carrying a knife during his panhandling activities, while acting aggressively.

But the Spidey impersonator’s fellow performers jumped to his defence. A man dressed as Batman told the paper that the police officer had been overly aggressive, claiming that Spider-Man was grabbed by the neck, while a woman dressed as Minnie Mouse said Mr Bishop had been asking “politely” for tips.

The performers claimed that “everybody is scared after what happened to the man in Staten Island,” referring to the case of Eric Garner, who died of a heart attack while in police custody, hours after being arrested and allegedly put into an illegal chokehold by officers.

The incident comes a week after New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton welcomed the City Council’s efforts to deal with Times Square’s “Elmo issues”. A bill is being considered by the council that would call for licences and background checks for the costumed performers. However, there are complications surrounding copyright of the characters, as well as the performers’ first amendment rights to free expression.

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, recently told the New York Daily News, “Our feeling is that there’s honest folks out there trying to make a living, but there’s also folks there trying to take advantage of people.” Mr Tompkins added that the impersonators were engaged in a “business activity that can be regulated like any other.”

In a recent survey, the Alliance counted more than 75 costumed characters operating in the Square at one time. The performers are thought to average around $50 in tips per day, though some have claimed to take home twice that amount. It is a profession that attracts misfits and eccentrics such as 51-year-old Dan Sandler, an Elmo impersonator who in 2012 pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was caught on camera delivering an anti-Semitic rant while in costume.

In June 2013, Sandler was jailed for a year for attempting to extort $2m from the Girl Scouts. He had threatened to spread false rumours linking the organisation to a Cambodian “rape camp”, and had also sent semi-naked pictures of himself to a female worker at the Girl Scouts’ New York HQ, where he had previously been employed – as a temp, not as an Elmo.

In December 2012, a Super Mario was arrested for groping a 58-year-old woman. Last year, a Cookie Monster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, when he shoved a two-year-old whose mother had declined to tip. Another Spiderman, 36-year-old Phillip Williams, was recently convicted of harassment and fined $370 for a February 2013 incident in which he punched a woman who had refused to pay him for posing for a picture with her children.

So far this year, a Woody from Toy Story and yet another Spiderman have both been charged with “forcible touching” after they were accused of groping women in separate incidents. Last month, a man dressed as the Statue of Liberty was arrested for brawling with another man, also dressed as the Statue of Liberty, after the two became embroiled in a turf war over a lucrative patch outside Times Square’s Marriot Marquis Hotel.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London