NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An NYPD officer is on modified duty as officials investigate a video that shows two cops repeatedly hitting a man inside a Jewish youth center in Brooklyn.
The Oct. 8 incident at the ALIYA Center on East New York Avenue in Crown Heights is being investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Brooklyn district attorney.
Police said they had received a 911 call about a dispute involving a man who was trespassing at the location and refused to leave.
The video, which was first made public by CrownHeights.info on Sunday, shows two officers waking up 21-year-old Ehud Halevi who asleep on a couch inside the center.
The officers asked him to leave the center, but he refused, police said.
Halevi is seen in the video pushing one of the cops away as the officer tries to put him in handcuffs. That’s when the video shows the officer getting into what appears to be a boxing stance before punching Halevi in the face.
Watch the video below:
As the two struggle, a second officer is seen in the video hitting Halevi with a baton.
Halevi was eventually arrested and charged with assault, trespass, resisting arrest, harassment and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Rabbi Moshe Feiglin, who runs the youth center, said Halevi had permission to sleep there and was not trespassing.
He and other elected officials spoke out Monday condemning the officers seen in the video.
“If not for the clear evidence of this video, we might believe that Mr. Halevi had committed the crime he was accused of, which included assaulting an officer of the law,” Hikind said Monday. “But the video proves this was a lie. How many similar claims by law enforcement officers are equally fictitious?”
“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,” Council member Jumaane Williams said in a statement. “The NYPD is an institution to be trusted, not to be feared. Clearly that message was not absorbed by these officers, which calls into question once again the standards of training that they receive from their superiors.”
Police said Halevi was intoxicated and became belligerent and combative and threatened the officers with violence if they made him leave.
It’s still unclear who called police in the first place.
The case has also been referred to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
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