NEW YORK - A disturbing video shows a man lighting a firework and throwing it at a homeless man lying on a sidewalk in Harlem. The firework explodes as the suspect runs off.
The NYPD says the 66-year-old man suffered minor burns to his back in the attack at about 4 a.m. on June 22.
In the video, the suspect lights the firework and then throws it on the man who was covered with a blanket in front of 67 Lenox Avenue. The suspect is smiling as he slowly runs away. At least two others record the shocking incident with cell phones. Laughing can be heard in the background.
"Homeless man literally set on fire last night on the streets in Brooklyn. Take a close look NOT one person can be seen defending this victim. Not one person seemed to care no protesters to condemn no news media to tell the story," wrote the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
Police released a more close-up video on social media of the incident which occurred in Harlem, not Brooklyn, as the SBA had tweeted. The NYPD is searching for the suspects.
Fireworks have been ignited across New York City throughout the month of June. 8,967 fireworks complaints have been lodged by the city's 311 system from June 1 through June 21, compared to just 28 during the same period last year.
"Illegal fireworks are not only illegal they are dangerous," said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news briefing Tuesday.
He announced the launch of an operation to confiscate the distributors of the fireworks. The NYPD, FDNY, and Deputy Sheriff's officers will be conducting sting operations "cutting it off at the knees," added the mayor.