Man arrested after punching cop at drag event at NY Public Library

Diminutive man, 28, arrested after confronting protesters and punching undercover cop during drag queen story event at New York Public Library in Manhattan

  • Chase Catapano, 28, is seen on camera egging on the protesters bearing messages such as ‘Leave our kids alone,’ ‘Shut it down,’ and ‘Respect childhood’
  • The incident transpired Saturday at the main branch of the Big Apple’s storied library, where kids aged 3 to 9 had been gathered to attend a ‘Drag Story Hour’
  • The event, like other similar processions that have surfaced across the country, drew criticism – in this case from members of a local conservative group
  • Things got physical when Catapano – who has a record of civil disobedience – rips a sign out of a protester’s hands and puts his hands on the officer 
  • The altercation saw Catapano arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, attempted assault, and obstructing governmental administration

A Manhattan man is facing charges in relation to a violent clash at the New York Public Library, which saw him clash with protesters boycotting a drag reading event for kids, and an undercover cop that had been deployed there to keep the peace.

The incident transpired Saturday at the main branch of the Big Apple’s storied library system, where kids aged 3 to 9 had been gathered to attend a ‘Drag Story Hour’ event presided over by library officials and local drag queens.     

The event, like other similar processions that have surfaced across the country, drew unwanted criticism – in this case from members of a local conservative group, who gathered as the children were sectioned off safely in another room.

Chase Catapano, 28, is seen on camera egging on the protesters, hurling insults and defamatory gestures at parents toting signs bearing messages such as ‘Leave our kids alone,’ ‘Shut it down,’ and ‘Respect childhood.’

Eventually, the confrontation gets physical, after the pint-sized instigator – who has a record of civil disobedience – rips a sign out of one protester’s hands and puts his hands on the plain-clothes officer.

A few feet away, a woman can be seen ushering a small child away from the mayhem, which saw Catapano arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, attempted assault, and obstructing governmental administration.

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A Manhattan man, seen at right, is facing charges in relation to a violent clash at the New York Public Library Saturday, which saw him clash with protesters boycotting a drag reading event for kids, and an undercover cop that had been deployed there to keep the peace

The man, Chase Catapano, 28, is seen on camera egging on the protesters, hurling insults and defamatory gestures at parents toting signs bearing messages such as ‘Leave our kids alone,’ ‘Shut it down,’ and ‘Respect childhood’ before attacking an undercover officer 

 Eventually, the confrontation gets physical, after the pint-sized instigator – who has a record of civil disobedience – rips a sign out of one protester’s hands

The suspect, police said, was not attending the Drag Story Hour nor the protest, but was there along with the amalgam of concerned staffers, protesters, parents, and kids present in the library hallway as the event struggled to get started

‘Get the f**k out of here!’ Catapano can be heard shouting in footage of the altercation posted to social media Saturday evening, showing the standoff between the small-statured man and peaceful protesters.

Catapano is seen instigating the action, hurling insults and obscene at the parents who – apart from clutching their signs – appear to largely laugh their diminutive detractor off.

However, the scene soon escalates, as Catapano grows more and more unhinged.

‘You’re a f**king disgrace!’ he can be he heard shouting at the group of less than a dozen parents, separated by several staffers at the library who formed a makeshift line to keep the peace between the parties.

All the while, in a room just down the hall, kids attending the drag event – billed as being for kids aged 3 to 9 on the NYPL website – were huddled with parents and library staffers who were filmed using objects into the room to bar the door.

Presiding over the ordeal, library brass wrote of the event, was drag queen Paradise, described to youngsters as a ‘trans and gender non-conforming rainbow unicorn princex.’ 

As Catapano walks away – repeating the phrase ‘You’re a f**king disgrace!’ – he is confronted by a much-larger man in a black winter jacket, later confirmed to be a detective with the New York City Police Department. 

When the loud-mouthed suspect’s taunts to protesters became more pronounced and even physical, Catapano quickly came under police scrutiny

The officer appears to offer a word of warning to Catapano, who responds by batting off his arms and showing him away 

 During the interaction, a defiant Catapano can be heard telling the detective ‘I don’t give a f**k who you are,’ before the officer, seemingly attempting to keep the incident from devolving any further, put his hands on the still mouthy perpetrator, grabbing him by his sweatshirt.

Footage shows Catapano continuing to complain and curse as he’s escorted out of the hallway, as parents are seen frantically herding their kids from the source of the unrest.

The event’s intent, staffers wrote, was to ‘celebrate gender diversity and all forms of difference to build empathy and give kids the confidence to express themselves, however they feel comfortable.’

Catapano, police said, was not attending the Drag Story Hour nor the protest, but was there along with the amalgam of concerned staffers, protesters, parents, and kids present in the library hallway as the event struggled to get started.

However, unbeknownst to Catapano, among the mob were several officers sent to monitor the demonstration, stationed inconspicuously throughout the crowd.

When the loud-mouthed suspect’s taunts to protesters became more pronounced and even physical, Catapano quickly came under police scrutiny.

Capatana was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, attempted assault and obstructing governmental administration, police said Sunday

it was not the first time the small-sized instigator has had run-ins with the law. In 2018, he was cited for criminal contempt in the second degree after apparently disobeying a court order barring him from a property in Staten Island. In 2020, he was arrested for misdemeanor aggravated harassment

Footage of the incident posted Saturday by NJEG Media shows this transpiring, after Catapano, of Manhattan, rips a sign out of one protester’s hands and violently hurls it toward other members of the group, known as the Guardians of Divinity.

The protester – who had been clutching a sign that read ‘leave our kids alone’ – does not react, and even smiles at the instigator.

As Catapano walks away – repeating the phrase ‘You’re a f**king disgrace!’ – he is confronted by a much-larger man in a black winter jacket, later confirmed to be a detective with the New York City Police Department.

Protesters took issue with the reading event, which was presided over by drag queen Paradise (pictured), who was billed to youngsters as a ‘trans and gender non-conforming rainbow unicorn princex’

The officer appears to offer a word of warning to Catapano, who responds by batting off his arms and showing him away.

During the interaction, a defiant Catapano can be heard telling the detective ‘I don’t give a f**k who you are,’ before the officer, seemingly attempting to keep the incident from devolving any further, put his hands on the still mouthy perpetrator, grabbing him by his sweatshirt.

Footage shows Catapano continuing to complain and curse as he’s escorted out of the hallway, as parents are seen frantically herding their kids from the source of the unrest.

Later on in the video, Catapano appears to be struggling with officers arresting him in a stairwell, after which he was handcuffed and escorted out of the building.

He faces charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, attempted assault and obstructing governmental administration, police said Sunday, citing his attack of the on-duty officer.

That said, it was not the first time the small-sized instigator has had run-ins with the law. In 2018, he was cited for criminal contempt in the second degree after apparently disobeying a court order barring him from a property in Staten Island.

In 2020, he was again arrested in Long Island for misdemeanor aggravated harassment.

It is also not the first time the New York Public Library has come under fire for hosting reading events presided over by drag queens – an it has in fact become commonplace at the institution in recent years.

Despite the contentious natures events, libraries have shown discrepancies in content allowed in their scholarly halls – with 50 recently banning Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron new Christian Children’s book due to its dealing with religion.

A court date for Catapano has not been set.

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