Man Is Arrested in Random Attack on Steve Buscemi

Nine days after the actor Steve Buscemi was punched in the face on a Manhattan street, a man has been charged in the case, the New York Police Department said.

Clifton Williams, a 50-year-old homeless man, was arrested on Friday and charged with second-degree assault, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. A police spokesman said the charge was elevated to a felony because of Mr. Buscemi’s age.

Mr. Buscemi, 66, was walking on Third Avenue near East 27th Street in the Kips Bay neighborhood when he was attacked by a stranger just before noon on May 8. He was treated at Bellevue Hospital for bleeding, bruising and swelling in his left eye.

Police officers identified Mr. Williams as a suspect on Tuesday after releasing surveillance photos of him wearing a blue T-shirt, black sweatpants and a baseball cap.

On Friday, police officers responded to a dispute between Mr. Williams and another man in the Chelsea neighborhood, about a dozen blocks from where Mr. Buscemi was attacked. There, they recognized Mr. Williams and arrested him.

Mr. Williams has also been accused of punching a 22-year-old man about 15 minutes before Mr. Buscemi was attacked, a police spokeswoman said. He has been charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in that case.

Mr. Buscemi, a Brooklyn native and former city firefighter, is known for his roles in “Boardwalk Empire,” “Fargo” and “The Sopranos.”

Felony assaults in the city fell about 2 percent in April compared with April 2023, according to the Police Department — part of a broader reduction in violent crimes, including a 30 percent drop in murders and 15 percent fewer shootings. The number of misdemeanor assaults, though, rose 7 percent in the first three and a half months of 2024, compared with the same period last year.

Michael Stuhlbarg, an actor who appeared with Mr. Buscemi on “Boardwalk Empire,” was struck by a rock on March 31 while walking in Central Park. Several female TikTok users, including one with more than a million followers, have posted video accounts of having been punched while walking around the city.

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