Upper East Siders say “court system is sad” after man arrested for allegedly harassing them released


A man dubbed the “serial spitter” by the Upper East Siders whom he allegedly harassed them for months by spitting, kicking, chasing, cursing and throwing bottles at them is back on the streets under 48 hours after his arrest on Tuesday, officials said.

The man, identified as James Hasho, 26, has been arrested and charged with fourth degree criminal mischief, third degree threatening, criminal possession of a fourth degree weapon and second degree harassment, District of Manhattan’s attorney’s office told Inside Edition Digital.

An incident allegedly took place on November 29 in front of 321 East 90th Street. The other incident is said to have occurred on December 3 on East End Ave. and E. 84th St.

“Mr. Hasho was arraigned on both of these complaints earlier today. He was released on his own recognizance. The charges are not eligible for monetary bail,” said Caitlyn Fowles of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. .

NYC Defenders attorney Jessica Heyman represents Hasho. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 18, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Heyman told Inside Edition Digital that “he was very mentally ill. He left court in the custody of the Mayor’s Crisis Intervention Task Force. They identified him as someone in need of services. “

Police said in a Tuesday statement that “the individual who was arrested twice in the past month for harassing park visitors Carl Schurz Park has been re-arrested today for criminal mischief”. At that time, they said he was “evaluated by medical professionals”.

In recent weeks, many locals have been nervous, reporting frightening encounters with the man, who allegedly harassed mostly women, children and animals in the neighborhood.

Last week, two of the incidents reportedly took place near Chapin School and Brearley School, two private schools on the Upper East Side.

Beth, who spoke on condition that her last name not be used, told Inside Edition Digital that she met the man at the corner of 86th Street and York Avenue at around 7:40 a.m. last Thursday.

“I was waiting to cross the street. This man came out of nowhere. He looked at me directly then spat in my face. I quickly raised my hand to block my face and his saliva hit my hand, ”Beth said. “The attack was completely unprovoked.”

Beth said two women who had witnessed the alleged attack rushed over to her to see if she was okay. “I was completely in shock,” Beth said. “I have lived in the city for over 20 years and something like this has never happened to me. Within minutes, I saw the worst of mankind and the best of mankind.

After the disturbing encounter, Beth posted her story on an app called NextDoor that connects people in her neighborhood. She gave residents a description of what the man looked like and asked her neighbors to be vigilant. Word of her meeting spread, generating more than 240 comments, many of which told Beth that a man with the same description attacked them as well.

The next day, she filed a police report in the 19th arrondissement. She said an officer sympathized with her, then said there wasn’t much they could do unless there was some type of injury visible.

Less than 24 hours later, a woman named Gina, who also spoke on condition that only her first name be used, dropped off her 16-year-old daughter at her high school on 84th Street and East End Avenue when a man allegedly attacked her.

“I was sitting in my car and my window rolled down. He threw himself at me, spat in my face and kicked my car, ”Gina told Inside Edition Digital. “As I drove off he threw a bottle at me. ”

Gina said her attacker was the same man her daughter saw at her bus stop on 83rd Street and York Avenue on Thursday. Gina said her daughter saw the man chasing after a screaming woman.

“I’m panicked that my daughter is a few feet away from him,” Gina said. “There is no way I will have this animal near my child.”

On Monday, she filed a police report, also in the 19th arrondissement. She told Inside Edition Digital that it was “criminal mischief”.

Amy Henry told Inside Edition Digital that she saw who she said was the same man walk through an organized school group of 8 and 9-year-old boys in Carl Schurz Park and spit on one of the children.

“It was horrible to watch,” said Henry, who also called the 19th arrondissement to report it.

Henry said she started noticing the man in September and on another occasion she saw him go after a dog walker with a broken bottle.

“The police know about it,” Henry said. “This guy has become unpredictable and dangerous. He needs help and his condition has gradually worsened over the past few months. “

Henry said she often saw him lying in the park, passed out near children playing, as well as sleeping in a bathroom near Gracie Mansion.

“What’s the tipping point here if this guy spits on your kids and spits on random women on the street?” Henry asked. “I think spitting is assault. What does it take for the police to really take action? Will they wait until someone is physically injured?

Before learning of her arrest, Henry said she was considering carrying Mace. “You have to have a different mindset now when you go out,” she said. “Not everything is going to be lively like fishing. “

Nancy Ploeger said she had two encounters with a man who she said fits the same description. The first, she said, took place on November 11 after leaving Starbuck’s on 90th Street and York Avenue. She said she was holding her dog’s leash in one hand and had a cup of coffee in the other when the man suddenly tried to hit her on the head.

Ploeger said she “dodged and ran.” “He started chasing me and I started screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’ and two men ran towards me trying to help me as the guy ran around the block, ”she said.

She says the second encounter happened outside her Upper East Side apartment building on Thanksgiving morning when the man suddenly spat on the person she was speaking with. This person was in a wheelchair.

“Women shouldn’t be afraid to walk around their neighborhood,” Ploeger said. “He needs help. He needs to be taken off the streets for his mental issues before he really hurts someone. Spitting is bad enough, especially with COVID. It’s disgusting.”

A woman who declined to give her name told Inside Edition Digital that she was attacked by what she believed to be the same man on December 3. She says he was sleeping in the hallway of her apartment building and spat on her, kicked her apartment door, and cursed her.

For nearly 30 years, she said she was “absolutely unaware” of the potential dangers of life in the neighborhood. Now, she said, she recently bought pepper spray and an alarm to protect herself.

Several residents said some of the building’s doormen are armed with baseball bats for protection.

On Monday, another Upper East Side resident said the same man “repeatedly assaulted and threatened to kill my doormen, and broke into my apartment building.”

“It appears that the above are crimes,” he wrote.

When Beth learned that a suspect had been taken into custody, she posted an update on the Next Door app. “Unfortunately, I would put money on it so that he would be released and released within the next 72 hours,” one person wrote. in response to the update. “Stay vigilant! Stay alert. Be careful.”

When word of Hasho’s release spread on Thursday, Beth told Inside Edition Digital she was “not surprised.”

“I think it’s a joke,” she said. “Our justice system is sad. We cannot even protect ourselves from known offenders.

Gina says she was devastated to learn that Hasho had been released.

“Can you believe that? ” she said. “You go through the channels of filing a police report, through trauma. He is arrested, then released and is on the street again.

“This is all sickening,” she said.

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