Crown Heights officials protest as video shows NYPD beating homeless man

October 16, 2012 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Associated Press
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Video of beating of Brooklyn man sparks outrage

Elected officials and the Orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights held a press conference Monday to protest the beating of a homeless man by two NYPD officers last Monday.  

Ehud Halevi, 21, was sleeping on a couch that night at ALIYA (Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults), a Jewish outreach center for troubled youth. A security guard, not aware that the young man had permission to sleep there, contacted the NYPD.

After two officers from the 71st Precinct asked Halevi to leave, he allegedly informed them that he had permission from the center to stay there. A disturbingly graphic video shows him briefly resisting arrest, after which he was pepper-sprayed and punched repeatedly by the officers before finally being placed in handcuffs.

The New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office were investigating the allegation of excessive force inside a Jewish community center in Brooklyn, authorities said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, elected officials have demanded the department fire the officers, identified in court papers as Luis Vega and Yelena Bruzzese.

City Councilman David Greenfield of Brooklyn called the alleged beatdown “insane.”

“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,” said Council member Williams in a statement, questioning the training the officers received from their superiors.

Rabbi Moshe Feiglin, the center’s founder, told Carroll Gardens Patch that others may now fear coming to the center.

Halevy was arrested on charges of assault — based on the officers’ claim he attacked them — resisting arrest, trespassing and other minor charges.

The Brooklyn DA’s office declined to comment Tuesday when asked if the case against him would be dropped.

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