NYC free hugs man arrested for alleged assault

NEW YORK CITY (WPVI) -- A man who offers free hugs in New York's Times Square is accused of punching a Canadian tourist in the face because she refused to tip him.

Jermaine Himmelstein was arrested shortly after the incident Thursday afternoon.

Police say he demanded a cash tip from the 22-year-old woman, after she took a photo with him.

When the woman refused to pay, police say Himmelstein punched her in the face and then ran off.


Himmelstein briefly spoke to reporters as he was led out of a police station.

"I was aggressively asking for tips, aggressively asking for tips," he said.

Himmelstein has multiple prior arrests - some for assault.

The victim was left with a black eye, cuts and bruises.
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