Hasidic Community in Crown Heights Calls for Investigation into Innocent Man's Beating and Arrest

NYPD officers caught on tape using excessive force, according to community members

The orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights joined elected officials at a press conference Monday to protest what they feel is the wrongful arrest and beating of an innocent citizen.

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, State Senators Eric Adams and Karim Camara, City Council Member Latisha James and other elected officials gathered with key advocates in Crown Height's Hasidic community to call for an investigation into an incident caught on video they feel showed NYPD officers using excessive force.

The incident took place on Monday, October 8, at 4:00 a.m., when 71st Precinct police were called to ALIYA (Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults), a synagogue and outreach center for troubled youth in Crown Heights, about a reportedly homeless man who was sleeping in the lounge of the center.

The encounter showed two NYPD officers of the 71st Precinct attempting to escort the man from the facility. However, after the man told officers he had permission to be in the center, an argument ensued. The video showed the officers punching the man about his body until backup arrived, and he was finally arrested.

It was later discovered that the man, identified as Ehud H. Halevi, in fact had permission to be there, according to Rabbi Moshe Feiglin, the center’s founder. Feiglin also expressed concerned that following the incident, others may now fear coming to the center.

“The tactics that were used are outside of proper protocol for removing someone from the scene or trying to subdue someone,” said State Senator Eric Adams, who is also a retired NYPD captain.

Before the video tape was released, officers said that force was used after Halevi attacked them. However, that account is in contrast with what is shown on the video.

“The video tape does not lie. [Halevi] was not in a threatening position. Police officers are not in a boxing match; they are trained to use dialogue to try to de-escalate the situation.”

The officers were responding to a call from someone inside of the center, who mistakenly thought the man was loitering on the center’s property without permission, according to an unnamed source.

However, Yaacov Behrman, a community activist from Crown Heights, said it does not excuse the officers’ use of excessive force and lack of protocol:

“This behavior is unacceptable,” said Behrman. “We thank all the good officers that are protecting our streets, but we expect them to follow a proper protocol.”

Halevi has been charged with assault on a police officer- which can bring a sentence of 5 years in prison upon conviction – and he is also facing four misdemeanor charges and four violations, including trespassing, resisting arrest and harassment.

Police officials have not yet commented on the incident since the video's release.

“From this video you are seeing that there is a common denominator amongst citizens where a level of excessive force is being used,” said Adams. “You’re seeing even in the heart of the orthodox and religious community, they are experiencing the same type of encounters.”

Adams said he and other community members are scheduling a meeting with the commanding officer of the 71st Pct to ask that the officers in question are re-trained and put on modified assignment.

“We call on the district attorney to immediately drop all charges, and we demand that the 71st Precinct take the police officers off the street until the investigation is complete,” said Behrman.


Dennis Eisen October 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM
So, stereotypical ranting about what "Jews Want" and what "Jews feel" and what "Jews get" is not anti Jew? I cannot imagine myself making a similiar rant about people of color. Even the equating of the Chabad community with the millions of other Jews in NYC is bigotted. Even if you were correct. Should you be celebrating the beating for no reason of ANYONE? Apparently the Chasidic community leaders are demanding an investigation into ALL police abuse and violence. I would think that you would want to join them and demanding this plus, if you have evidence, which you hint that you have, it is a new opportunity to present it. It is not a coincidence that this info was pushed by Murdoch owned facilities...the Post and Fox. Do you really want the right wing nuts to succeed in their divide and concur baloney? As to extra protection for the Chabad headquarters. Haven't there been several terrorist attempts against NYC synagogues and at least one successful attack of a Chasidic Rebbe and several students trying to ride across the Brooklyn Bridge? If the Klan of NYC was attacking churches I would certainly hope the police would step up security there. There are plenty of things involving the African American community in Brooklyn without divide and conquer.
Dennis Eisen October 17, 2012 at 05:40 PM
sorry for the typos but this darned phone is always changing text.
BRADY October 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Dennis please, the comlpaints of their preferential treatment go way back way before all this terrorism. it is not ''Jew Hatred '' or'' stereotypical anti semite ranting'' as you say, or any divide and conquer it's a fact that they are treated differently and given a lot more from the NYPD than the rest of the Crown Heights community
Dennis Eisen October 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Everyone has lost sight of the original article. Someone was beaten senseless. Brady, you sound reasonable. Whether or not the Chabad gets better treatment, I cannot believe that you are saying it is okay for the beating. Now, other posters here, if you read what they wrote are pure Jew haters. One wrote that Jews who are not long bearded wear tight clothes while they all become ,millionaires and billionaires? As a gay man, I hear horrible verbal abouse from members of the West Indian Community, Chasidic Community and Muslim community.. Does that mean that I think it is okay for one of their people to be beaten by police? HELL NO!!!. Brutality is brutality. We should take every opportunity to work together. This is such an opportunity. That is all I am saying. By the way, someone else wrote anti semitic ranting I think or brought up civil rights. I did not. NOR did I bring up my african american coworkers who would talk about how gay men who died of aids deserved it because they were an abomination. Nor the cops, who after I was mugged and robbed, after seeing a photo of me and my partner refused to take my complaint because I deserved it cause I was a faggot who was probably trying to pick someone up.
NLP October 21, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Who cares what religion the victim is? It's clear he had his civil rights violated, and suffered a brutal assault for doing nothing wrong but trying to sleep! Please stick to the facts people.


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