On a bright Monday morning in August, 18-year-old David Peralta-Mera drove his cherry red Mustang, his girlfriend in the passenger seat, into a well-trafficked parking lot off Main Street in East Hampton.
Life was looking good: Peralta-Mera had two jobs, one in food prep at Dopo La Spiaggia and the other doing maintenance at the Sportime tennis club in Amagansett. He was a rising sophomore at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The car was a recent splurge, paid for with his summer wages.
As for what happened next, Peralta-Mera doesn’t really recall. But according to police, the Suffolk County District Attorney, witness statements and surveillance video, 31-year-old Charles Harrison Streep — nephew of Meryl — drove past Peralta-Mera in his own drop-top Audi and exchanged words.
Within seconds, Streep, much taller and broader than Peralta-Mera, was out of his car and shoved Peralta-Mera. The two grappled, but Streep quickly got the teen in a chokehold, neck squeezed under Streep’s right armpit. Streep hoisted Peralta-Mera’s limp body twice, like a rag doll, then threw him to the pavement.
That afternoon, the 18-year-old was airlifted to a hospital with a Level 1 trauma center, where he underwent emergency surgery, needing part of his skull removed to treat a brain bleed. He was left with a crescent of thick, blood-encrusted staples arcing up from his right ear.
Peralta-Mera’s prognosis, in the short and long term, is unclear. His civil attorney, Edmond Chakmakian, told The Post that the teen has medical bills climbing well over $130,000, but is unable to work, let alone drive his new car. He can’t attend college this fall. Chakmakian says Peralta-Mera is “probably not going to have much of a career.”
Three days after the attack, Streep was arrested at his family’s $5 million dollar Pondview Lane estate, charged with two felonies — second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation — and released on $5,000 bail.
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