Nathaniel DiRenzo faces charges after girl was punched, strangled at a Manhattan park during a clash between dog owners and school kids
A man who attacked an 11-year-old Black girl in a New York City park last week is now in custody.
Nathaniel DiRenzo, 29, who police say punched the girl during a confrontation at Stuyvesant Square Park, was arrested Saturday, New York Daily News reports.
The attack took place outside the Manhattan park’s dog run where children at a nearby school gathered during noon recess. The incident sparked after the children tossed dirt and party snappers over a fence into the dog run, prompting dog owners to confront the students after an adult supervisor failed to control the scene, according to the report.
Some of the other dog owners began to yell at the children, including DiRenzo who became angry and yelled at the chaperone.
“Grip her the f— up before I put my hands on her,” he said, as reported in the News. “You’re a f—ing embarrassment … I can’t believe they pay you to do this.”
That prompted the 11-year-old to confront him, who then turned his attention to her.
“You fat little bi–h. You’re not going to amount to anything in life,” DiRenzo said to the girl.
According to police, DiRenzo grabbed the girl by her hair and punched her in the head. At one point, he grabbed her by the neck.
A 15-year-old boy came to the girl’s aid, leading DiRenzo to hit him as well. The scene was captured in video posted to YouTube that is currently private.
Witnesses say that DiRenzo then fled the scene. One such witness, a dog owner named Pete Ghiorse, attempted to de-escalate the altercation and then saw DiRenzo make an escape.
“I didn’t know what was going on, so me and another guy got in the middle of it and broke it up,” Ghiorse told WABC-TV. “I think he heard the sirens, and he booked it.”
Another witness, Wendy Slater, understood DiRenzo’s frustration with the children coming to the park.
“There’s no supervision,” Slater told WABC-TV. “It’s been going on for years. That was the nice thing about COVID. They weren’t here.”
The girl was taken to Mount Sinai Beth Israel in stable condition. The 15-year-old boy who defended her was treated for minor injuries on the scene.
DiRenzo has been charged with second-degree strangulation, two counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child, second-degree harassment and two counts of assault, as reported by the New York Post.
He was arraigned on Saturday at Manhattan Criminal Court and was released on $7,500 bail.
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