NEW YORK — The viral video is disturbing: A woman is forced to walk a New York City sidewalk wearing only a towel before being stripped naked, all while enduring a stream of verbal abuse hurled by the man filming her.
Calling her degrading names and telling her she should stand in a pile of trash, the man threatens to post the video online — a threat that he makes good on. The video has drawn outrage from thousands of viewers online and even caught the attention of the first lady of New York City.
The man, who allegedly choked the woman before the filming began, now faces a string of charges related to the incident: criminal obstruction of breathing, endangering the welfare of a child, and coercion and assault, according to Detective Brian Sessa of the New York Police Department.
The woman’s boyfriend, Jason Melo, 22, turned himself in to police on Wednesday, Sessa said.
The child endangerment charge stems from the fact a 3-month-old was left alone in the couple’s apartment while the incident occurred, Sessa said.
Information for Melo’s lawyer was not immediately available.
Mayor’s wife: We don’t tolerate this kind of thing
Chirlane McCray, the wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, condemned the video in a statement Thursday, saying it “displayed verbal abuse, forced humiliation and harassment by the alleged offender.”
“Posting that video online perpetuated the abuse, which New York City does not tolerate,” McCray said. “We are steadfast in our efforts to make sure all victims of abuse are aware of the many resources available as we strive to make New York City’s public and private spaces safe for all women and girls.”
Melo posted a series of videos to Instagram on Wednesday, issuing an apology to “all women.”
“I did not want this. I did not think this would get to this point,” Melo said in Spanish. “Maybe I did make a mistake, to do what I did, from the beginning to take her out naked.”
“I take the fault. I have asked forgiveness from her, too, but I want everyone to know that I am not as bad as everyone thinks,” he said.