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Suspect arrested in New York City attack on actor Steve Buscemi. Here’s what we know.

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Suspect arrested in New York City attack on actor Steve Buscemi. Here’s what we know.


NEW YORK — More than a week after actor Steve Buscemi was punched in an apparent random attack in New York City, police arrested a suspect Friday in connection with the case. 

Police sources tell CBS New York 50-year-old Clifton Williams, who police were looking for since at least Monday, walked into the 10th Precinct in Chelsea to make a report for stolen property Friday afternoon. When officers took his ID, they recognized him and made the arrest.

Clifton Williams arrested in 2 assaults, including attack on Steve Buscemi

Williams is facing two counts of assault. One is a misdemeanor, but the attack on Buscemi was upgraded to a felony because he’s 66 years old, which makes him a senior citizen in the eyes of the law.

Police say around 11:30 a.m. on May 8, Williams randomly punched a 22-year-old man on Third Avenue near 16th Street.

Less than 10 minutes later, Williams allegedly punched Buscemi as he was walking on Third Avenue near 27th Street.

Exclusive video obtained by CBS New York showed the actor, known for his roles in “Boardwalk Empire” and “Fargo,” walking south on Third Avenue and looking up to greet someone before crossing the street. Williams punched Buscemi moments later, police said.

Additional video showed Williams appearing to be talking to himself while walking north on Third Avenue, moments before the unprovoked attack. 

Buscemi, a Brooklyn native and former FDNY firefighter, was taken to Bellevue Hospital for bruising, swelling and bleeding to his left eye. He was released, but declined an on-camera interview days later.

NYPD investigating more assaults in 2024

Monday, the NYPD said felony assaults in New York City were up 15% year-to-date, and misdemeanor assaults had increased by about 7%.

“We are seeing an uptick, and of course that’s scary to all of us, but it doesn’t mean it’s a trend that’s going to continue,” former NYPD Commissioner Rich Esposito told CBS New York.  

In March, actor Michael Stuhlbarg, Buscemi’s co-star on “Boardwalk Empire,” was attacked at random while running on the Upper East Side.

Actor Rick Moranis was randomly attacked on the Upper West Side in 2020. 



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