Instagram jokers sow chaos with staged vigilante justice

Instagram jokers tied a cohort to a Manhattan light pole for a vigilante-justice prank, prompting clueless passers-by to join in dressing down the supposed thief — and cops to flock to the scene with guns drawn.

“It was like, guns drawn … out of the holster. I was like, ‘Yo, we got you!’ ” prankster Julio Martinez, 35, told The Post on Tuesday.

Martinez said his crew taped buddy Jose Hernandez to a lamp post at the corner of East 111th Street and Lexington Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Saturday and began filming as part of a staged bid to go viral.

The group started jokingly yelling at and slapping Hernandez, a supposed thief, as if meting out a needed dose of street justice.

The East Harlem commotion lured in bystanders, who joined in taunting the tied-up man — seemingly unaware that the event was staged.

Squad cars pulled up within minutes, their lights flashing and sirens blaring.

“He was like, ‘Yo, slap me a little bit. We’ll see what happens,’ ” Martinez said of Hernandez. “I slapped him up, and then literally the cops came.”

Video of the scene showed Hernandez taped to the pole wearing nothing but underwear as bystanders egged on his bogus vigilante abusers.

Video posted to Twitter showed police responding to a man taped to a pole which turned out to be a stunt.
When the cops realized that the incident was all for show, they started laughing with the pranksters.

“I started slapping him –– boom, boom! And then they was like, ‘Yeah, f–k him!’ ” Martinez said.

“They was like, ‘What he do?’ And we was like, ‘He was f–king stealing! You don’t f-king steal!’ And people was like, ‘That’s right, you don’t f–king steal! Cut him!’”

Officers initially treated the situation as an ongoing crime. Some had their hands on their weapons, while others removed their guns from their holsters, Martinez said.

When the cops realized that the incident was all for show, they asked Hernandez to nod if he was OK — then started laughing with the pranksters.

The prankster broadcast to his Instagram in the middle of his interview with a Post reporter, “It’s comedy man, and it’s great to hear we fooled people.”

The video had gotten a little over 2,000 views by Tuesday evening.

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the incident was staged.

Additional reporting by David Meyer

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