Manhattan DA clears Times Square cop assault suspect who flipped off media

Charges were dropped against Jhoan Boada, one of the migrants arrested in connection to the Times Square melee in late January between migrants and two police officers, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

Boada, 22, became the face of right-wing backlash after he was photographed flashing twin birds at reporters and insisting he was innocent as he left his arraignment in late January.

A “thorough and diligent investigation” cleared Boada in the case, the DA’s office said in a statement. “Jhoan Boada has been exonerated as a participant in this assault,” the statement said.

Boada was mistakenly arrested two days after the assault, when officers found he matched their description of a man in a black and white jacket with pink shoes, according to the DA’s office.

During his Jan. 31 arraignment, Boada’s attorney adamantly denied the Venezuelan migrant was involved in the brawl. Boada was released without bail.

When leaving his arraignment, Boada flipped two middle fingers to the news cameras that followed him out — becoming the face of the political firestorm that soon ensued.

His image, splashed on headlines across the country, became a symbol for right-leaning Americans of the dangers of immigration and sanctuary city laws.

It drew the anti-migrant fury of Americans from Texas to Great Neck, L.I. Mazi Pilip, a Republican who lost her special election bid to fill George Santos’s seat in Congress from Queens and Nassau Count, posted a picture of Boada and labeled him a “thug.”

The incident prompted calls from elected officials, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, for stronger punishments from the DA’s office.

“I don’t understand,” Boada said in Spanish at the time. “I didn’t do nothing.”

The DA’s office says Boada was mistaken for another suspect, Marcelino Estee. Estee has been charged in the assault, and is slated to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, the DA’s office said.

The chaotic Jan. 27 confrontation started when police officers approached a group of migrants standing on the edge of the sidewalk in front a shelter building, ordering them to move. It escalated when they moved to arrest a man, and the group of migrants then attacked the two cops, kicking and punching them.

After this high-profile incident, fears of a “migrant crime wave” have spread with little evidence to back up the idea that any significant rise in crime is being driven by the more than 170,000 asylum seekers who’ve arrived in the city since spring 2022.

Boada initially faced charges of attempted assault on a police officer and gang assault, but he was indicted with the others first arrested in the attack as the DA’s office continued to investigate his role in it.

Five other migrant men allegedly involved in the Jan. 27 attack were ordered held on bail last month on felony charges brought by a Manhattan grand jury.