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Hundreds Join Pre-Sabbath Rally For Alleged Police Brutality Victim

CROWN HEIGHTS — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Crown Heights  Friday just hours before the Sabbath  to vent continuing outrage over the videotaped  beating of 21-year-old Ehud Halevy at the hands of two officers from the 71st  precinct earlier this month.

“If you would have closed your eyes, you would have thought you were talking  about a group of African Americans or a group of Hispanics — now our Jewish  brothers and sisters have joined us in saying we want safe streets, but we don’t  want to b e brutalized and we don’t want to be treated unfairly,” State  Sen. Eric Adams told the crowd outside the 71st Precinct command on Empire  Boulevard.

“It doesn’t matter if a young person is wearing a yarmulke or a Yankee’s  baseball cap, police need to treat them with dignity and respect.”

Demonstrators said they would not rest until charges were dropped against  Halevy, who was arrested and charged with assault, trespass, resisting arrest,  and harassment in connection with the Oct. 8 incident, during which a volunteer  security guard allegedly found Halevy sleeping naked in the women’s section of  the ALIYA outreach center and synagogue and called police.

Lawyer Norman Siegel speaks at a rally for alleged police brutality victim Ehud Halevy in Crown Heights.Surveillance video captured two officers from Brooklyn’s 71st Precinct punching Halevy after he refused to leave the ALIYA Jewish outreach center on Oct. 8

“People are shocked — they’re at a loss for words,” said protester Chaya  Stern, 24. “There’s a lot of fear it could happen again.”

The precinct’s top brass have rushed to calm those fears even as local  elected officials call for the termination of Officer Luis Vega, who was caught  on surveillance video repeatedly punching Halevy during the arrest. Vega has  been put on desk duty pending further investigation.

“This is very shocking, and it can lead to an erosion of trust between the  police and the community,” Deputy Inspector John Lewis  told residents at the precinct community council meeting Thursday. “We try to  build trust because there are always going to be negative interactions with  police and we have to do our best to garner trust within the community.”

The demonstration drew more strollers than signs, and conversations between  protesters and police were largely cordial, if strained. ALIYA’s director Rabbi  Moishe Feiglin even encouraged demonstrators to put on tefillin — religious  articles worn by observant men during prayer — and pray briefly outside the  station house.

Chaya Stern, 24, holds a sign at a rally for alleged police brutality victim Ehud Halevy in Crown Heights.Surveillance video captured two officers from Brooklyn’s 71st Precinct punching Halevy after he refused to leave the ALIYA Jewish outreach center on Oct. 8.

“Aliya is committed to ensuring that its center will always remain a safe  haven for young adults that need a place to go,” Feiglin wrote to supporters on  Facebook. “Ehud Halevi has been part of Aliya’s family for the past month and  his best interests have been and will continue to be our best interests.”

The rabbi said he believed the crisis was part of a larger divine plan, and  that justice would be served.

“Everything happens for a good reason and we’re going to see a good outcome  come out of this,” he told the crowd. “Please remember the police are here for  our protection — a few bad apples does not spoil the pot.”

Source: DNA Info

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Posted by on October 21, 2012. Filed under Jewish News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.