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Video contradicts Curtis Sliwa account of Guardian Angels ‘migrant’ beating: NYPD source

Curtis Sliwa live on "Hannity" claimed his group was attacking a migrant who just committed a crime. Authorities, however, say this wasn't true. (Fox News)
Curtis Sliwa live on “Hannity” claimed his group was attacking a migrant who just committed a crime. Authorities, however, say this wasn’t true. (Fox News)

Surveillance footage of the Guardian Angels’ shocking takedown of a man in Times Square — an incident that set off a furor across the city — shows he was just trying to maneuver through the crowd when the vigilantes confronted him, a police source told the Daily News on Thursday.

That accounted contradicted statements from the Guardian Angels’ controversial leader Curtis Sliwa, who initially said the man was a “migrant” and a “shoplifter.”

In fact, the man — not a migrant — who was roughed up “may have been a little bit drunk, but he was just trying to make his way down Seventh Ave. when Sliwa’s goons stopped him,” the source said, citing surveillance and body-worn camera footage.

“He tried to push past them and they strong-arm him to the ground,” the source said.

The incident unfolded during a live Fox News interview focusing on the city’s migrant crisis that Sean Hannity conducted with Sliwa on Tuesday night.

During the segment, Sliwa had the camera pan to the dustup between several Angels and the man, later identified by cops as a 22-year-old Bronxite.

Sliwa didn’t know what was happening but quickly made up the migrant angle, the police source said Thursday.

“Our guys have just taken down one of the migrant guys right here on the corner — 42nd [St.] and Seventh [Ave.],” Sliwa said during the Tuesday broadcast, calling the man a shoplifter.

“Let’s just say we gave him a little pain compliance,” continued Sliwa, the 2021 GOP mayoral candidate. “His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations. He’s sucking concrete.”

The 22-year-old eventually received a summons for disorderly conduct.

“He was observed by police to be acting in a loud, threatening manner causing public alarm,” a police spokesperson said Wednesday. “As a result, he was issued a summons.”

Sliwa changed his tune, but only slightly, when contacted by the Daily News on Thursday.

“My language could have been much milder and calmer, no doubt about it, but I was in the eye of the storm at that point. It turned out it was wrong about the person that we had taken down and held and gave to the police,” he said.

That man appeared to be irate at the scene but calmed down when he got to a precinct stationhouse, where he put on a pair of glasses and began explaining that he had done nothing wrong, the police source said. He had no criminal record and has had a valid New York driver’s license since 2019, the source added.

When interviewed by police, the Angels — one of them Sliwa’s bodyguard — said they’d thought the man was “coming at” their boss, sources said.

In an interview with the AP on Wednesday, Sliwa admitted he’d believed the man was a migrant because he was “speaking Spanish” and because other Angels had encountered him with other Spanish speakers on previous patrols.

But when he spoke to The News, Sliwa claimed the man was with two others when he punched a woman Guardian Angel in the breast on Thursday.

“They’re rumbling and they’re pushing their way toward where we are and the next thing I know, they clocked a female Guardian Angel — this one guy who wound up getting arrested,” said Sliwa, who described the man as “belligerent.”

Witnesses called the man a migrant and he had a bag of baby clothes that may have been stolen, Sliwa claimed.

“This is third-hand information and I’m processing this — I personally should not have taken third-hand information. That was my mistake,” Sliwa told The News. “Obviously, that’s a big mistake.”

Arnaldo Salinas, Sliwa’s second-in-command with the angels, backed up his boss’ claims.

Salinas said he was in the middle of the melee and that the altercation started when the three men started hassling a retired cop providing security for the Fox TV crew.

“I walked over to de-escalate — and the gentleman simply was not de-escalating,” Salinas said. “He was ultra-aggressive, saying he was going to shoot us.”

According to Salinas, the man then used two open hands to shove a female Angel. Salinas said a tussle ensued and that a brown paper bag the man was holding broke open, spilling clothes with anti-theft tags to the ground.

City progressives have called for the tables to be turned on the Angels, with some saying they committed a hate crime.

Sliwa rejected the suggestion.

“It turns out he’s not a Venezuelan. I should not have implicated him as being that. (But) the Venezuelan immigrants — they’ve been on a crime spree,” he said.

“My anger boiled up. Clearly I haven’t indicted Venezuelan people,” he admitted. “The Guardian Angels are mostly minority. I, like a lot of New Yorkers, are really angry now at what the governor and the mayor and the president have done by bringing these people, many of whom have criminal records because they were never checked, here.”

Guardian Angels are seen during a live broadcast on "Hannity" attack a man, who Curtis Sliwa claimed was a migrant who just shoplifted. Police, however, say this wasn't true the the man was not a migrant and had not shoplifted. (Fox News)
Guardian Angels are seen during a live broadcast on “Hannity” attack a man, who Curtis Sliwa claimed was a migrant who just shoplifted. (Fox News)

During a Thursday interview on CNN, Gov. Hochul was asked to look at the Sliwa clip.

“You can not take the law into your own hands,” she said of the violence. “This is not the Wild West. This is New York State.”

Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa (Stefan Jeremiah/AP)
Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa (Stefan Jeremiah/AP)

Sliwa, a conservative talk radio staple, has courted controversy throughout his time in the limelight.

In 1992, he admitted to having faked several crimes years earlier, including his own kidnapping, to gain publicity and spotlight dangers in the subway system.

This week’s incident added fuel to already high tensions in New York City as officials struggle to handle an ongoing rise in migrant arrivals for more than a year.

A group of migrants attacked two NYPD officers outside a shelter in Times Square on Jan. 27, sparking outrage.

There’s also been heated debate over the city’s shelter and benefits policies for the new arrivals. A growing number of progressives have voiced concern over the prospect of anti-migrant bigotry sweeping the city.

The Guardian Angels, which Sliwa launched in the 1970s to fight rampant subway crime, have long had a tense relationship with police.

“He’s out of his f—ing mind,” the police source said of Sliwa. “He doesn’t know what was going on and he begins babbling about him being a migrant.”