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Monday, October 15, 2012

Video: NY Cops Brutalize Defenseless Homeless Man in Brooklyn Synagogue

Oct. 15, 2012 - A homeless man was brutally beaten by officers of NYPD's 71st Precinct on October 8 when they assumed wrongly that he was trespassing at the Aliya (Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults). The learning center is an outreach center for troubled youth in a synagogue located in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The officers assumed that the homeless man, Ehud H. Halevi, did not have permission to be on Aliya's property - even though he did.
"Two officers from the 71st precinct, one male and one female, arrived and woke the man," reports CrownHeights.info.

"Confused as to why he was being accosted by police, the man refused the officers’ attempts to escort him outside, insisting that he had permission to be there and asking that they allow him to prove it. His pleas fell on deaf ears, and they proceeded to place him under arrest."

Eventually, as you see in the video, four officers were involved in the beating and the arrest of Halevi. Once subdued (see 3:25 into the video) by the four, seven more officers run into the room, for a total of 11 cops. At about 4:05, Halevi is handcuffed and lifted from the floor to stand up. He was then led out of the room.

At this point, I'll add, the officers may have had the right to be suspicious of Halevi's claim to have permission to be on the property. However, what happened next cannot be justified. Granted, Halevi resisted arrest, but the immediate and brutal reaction by the police officers seems excessive. Shirtless, shoeless and with no visible weapon, it seems unreasonable to think that officers thought he was armed.

"When he resisted arrest," says CrownHeights.info, "the male officer flew into a rage and began to beat the defenseless man. As can be seen in the video below, the officer assumed a boxing stance and then lurched towards his victim, pummeling him from all sides."

I hope there is a full and thorough investigation of this incident and that the officers get the punishment they deserve. The video clearly shows an overreaction by the police. Think of this: If you are defending yourself in a fight, the law will punished you if you use excessive force. The police should be held to the same standard.