Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Brooklyn DA Drops Charges Against Man Punched By Police In Jewish Center

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TWC News: Brooklyn DA Drops Charges Against Man Punched By Police In Jewish Center
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On Monday, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes dismissed charges against a man who allegedly attacked police officers during his arrest in a Jewish youth center in Crown Heights earlier this month.

Police charged Ehud Halevy, 21, with assaulting police officers and resisting arrest, after the officers found him sleeping in the basement of the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults early on the morning of October 8.

Last week, Crown Heights community leaders expressed outrage following the release of surveillance video showing Police Officer Luis Vega punching Halevy several times before the arrest.

Halevy's attorneys say the video does not show Halevy hitting police.

The district attorney's office dropped the charges after reviewing all available evidence.

Police claimed that the center's security guard phoned 911 after he found Halevy sleeping naked in the center, and the criminal complaint says Halevy was in a section reserved for women.

However, the center's leader, Rabbi Moishe Feiglin of Chabad Inreach ALIYA, says there is no female section and Halevy was allowed to stay there.

"It's been a really tough week, it's been a trying week from when we saw the videos to know what happened to our own member, at our own center, in our own safe haven," Feiglin said. "We try to make them feel at home. To see someone get beaten so badly, it was very difficult for all of us."

Normal Siegel, Halevy's lawyer, released a statement Monday saying, "We are pleased with this just resolution. Justice was done in this matter. We commend Charles Hynes for doing the right thing here. There was no legal basis for the criminal charges."

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who criticized the police over the arrest, says in a statement, "Halevy had already been through a brutal and prolonged beating, as well as four days in prison. There is no reason to maintain accusations that could have landed Mr. Halevy in jail for years. Sadly, all of us now—citizens and elected officials alike—are forced to wonder how many more arrests have been false; how many other accusations of police brutality have been true however impossible to substantiate."

One police officer involved in Halevy's arrest is on modified duty, pending an internal NYPD investigation. The Civilian Complaint Review Board is also investigating the incident.

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