Photo Credit: YouTube
An unarmed Jewish man staying at the ALIYA Center in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn was beaten by NYPD officers early last week, though video of the event is just coming to light now.
The ALIYA Center is a synagogue and outreach center for troubled youth, according to CrownHeights.info. The man, who has been identified as Ehud Halevi, had reportedly been staying there for roughly a month without any problems. Though it was later confirmed that he had full permission to be there, a security guard was apparently shocked to find a shirtless man– who he suspected was drunk– sleeping in the center.
After he called the police and saw the beating, however, he said he regretted his decision to involve the authorities.
“I regret making the call. I should have let him sleep. It spiraled out of control,” he remarked.
Skip to around 1:00 to see the shocking altercation, below (content warning):
The footage, captured by security cameras, shows two police officers approach the shirtless Halevi, who is in a couch. According to CrownHeights.info, the young Jewish man was startled at being awoken by police, and objected to being told to leave. When he said he was allowed to be there and the officers still tried to arrest him, Halevi can be seen moving his arms away from the officers’ reach, stepping back as they move to apprehend him.
That’s when the male officer gets aggressive, literally assuming a boxing stance. He punches the young man repeatedly, pushing him across the room and onto another couch. He then punches him at least a dozen more times– if not more– as Halevi throws his hands in front of his face.
The second officer, a woman, also rushes in. However, she doesn’t appear to try to restrain her partner– on the contrary, she eventually joins in and whacks the man over and over with her baton. According to CrownHeights.info, she also used her pepper spray at some point.
At around 4:00 a horde of other police officers rush in, and Halevi is escorted from the room with his hands behind his back. A number of other officers remain and appear to comb the area. They remove a cushion from the couch, possibly looking for drugs, and leave without putting it back.
After the beating, Halevi was charged for assaulting a police officer, trespassing, resisting arrest, and harassment.
Sara Feiglin, the wife of the rabbi who runs the youth center, confirmed the account given by CrownHeights.info for the New York Daily News, but police have not yet issued a statement.