As we reported yesterday, a Crown Heights man was roughed up by a NYPD officers because they mistakenly thought he was trespassing when they found him
sleeping on a couch in a synagogue and outreach center for troubled
youth in Crown Heights.
Following the two-minute-long beat-down — during which he was punched in the head, pepper-sprayed, and beaten with a club — he was hit with a felony charge of assaulting a police officer, as well as four
misdemeanor charges and four violations, including trespassing,
resisting arrest, and harassment.
Luckily, the beating was caught on tape, and it’s clear the victim, Ehud Halevi, never assaulted anyone. Nor was he trespassing — or harassing — anyone. He was asleep.
The incident has prompted local pols to question how many similar beatings — and BS criminal charges — occur but are never questioned; in most cases, it’s the word of a suspected criminal versus that of a cop — a scenario where the cop wins almost every time.
“If not for the clear evidence of this video, we might believe that
Mr. Halevi had committed the crime he was accused of, which included
assaulting an officer of the law,” says Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind,
an Orthodox Jew who represents Brooklyn. “But the video
proves this was a lie. How many similar claims by law enforcement
officers are equally fictitious?”
Others, including City Council
member Jumaane Williams, say the video is indicative of poor training
from the higher-ups at the NYPD.
“This is another low for abuse of police power. Good policing does
not require the excessive use of force Halevi endured and that New
Yorkers are now seeing on their televisions,” Williams says. “The NYPD is an institution to be
trusted, not to be feared. Clearly that message was not absorbed by
these officers, which calls into question once again the standards of
training that they receive from their superiors.”
The NYPD’s story
is that Halevi was drunk when he was awoken by the officers — who were
called by a janitor who thought Halevi was trespassing at the synagogue
— and that he became belligerent when they asked him to leave.
however, had permission to be at the temple, and had been staying there
for the past month. When he tried to explain this to the officers —
after having been abruptly woken up — he refused to leave, and briefly
resisted as the officers tried to throw cuffs on him. Then he got the
crap kicked out of him.
The officer involved in the beating
has been placed on modified duty as the NYPD’s internal affairs bureau
investigates the incident. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office also
is looking into the incident.