Jewish officials are asking for the heads of two NYPD officers that assaulted a homeless man in a synagogue, and were caught on camera doing so.
According to the NY Daily News, Luis Vega and Yelena Bruzzese have been identified as the two officers. Apparently, a volunteer security guard at the Aliya Institute in Crown Heights had called the police after having an argument with 21-year-old Ehud Halevy.
As the video shows, the two officers needed no physical provocation to attack an unarmed young man, brutally punching him. Halevy was living in the back room of the Brooklyn synagogue, where troubled and usually homeless teens are allowed to crash.
“By my count, one officer punched the victim over 20 times after he was already subdued,” Council member David Greenfield said, asking for the matter to be investigated by authorities.
An NYPD spokesperson responded that Internal Affairs was currently looking into the issue. The officers have not been suspended after their brutal actions, but have been allocated desk duty.
They have charged Ehud Halevy on many counts, that night, hence he had to pay $1,500 to be released on bail. Marijuana possession and trespassing were among those counts, but probably the most disturbing one was the assault of a police officer.
Rabbi Moishe Feiglin, director of the Aliya, has confirmed that the man had been authorized to live there, and mentioned that the dispute between him and the guard started because he was refusing to put on his pants.
According to the police report, the officers were verbally attacked, and felt threatened.
Halevy apparently told the guard “I have a right to stay here,” and threatened to punch the police officers.
“If you’re going to arrest me, I’m going to punch you,” he said, the document states.
Officer Vega is claiming that he suffered a sprained wrist, as well as bruising and swelling as a result of the assault. However, in the footage below one can observe he was not stricken back by the man, suggesting that he might have sustained injuries when his fist hit the man's face too hard.
“This is clear and convincing evidence of police brutality. We don’t want anything like this ever happening again to our community," assemblyman Dov Hikind stated.