Caught on video: NYPD punches shirtless man

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CBS News

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

NEW YORK—Following the violent arrest of a man at a Jewish youth center,  New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind and others are calling for a full investigation into the incident that occurred at the ALIYA Center on East New York Avenue in Crown Heights on Oct. 8, CBS New York reports.

The NYPD told 1010 WINS that police received a 911 call about a dispute involving a man who was trespassing at the location and refused to leave.

A surveillance video that was made public by CrownHeights.info has no audio but shows officers asking the man to leave the property. The man, described as intoxicated, belligerent and combative, refused to leave and threatened officers with violence if they made him move, police told 1010 WINS.

As the video shows, one of the cops pulls out his handcuffs and then tries to restrain the man, who pushes the officer’s hands off his body. In response, the male officer gets into what appears to be a boxing stance and punches the man in the face.

Then, he threw the man onto a couch and continued to hit him whilea female cop appears to beat him with an object. After several minutes of the beating, more officers arrive and the man is arrested.

Assemblyman Hikind describes the video as shocking.

“He did not attack the police officers. It’s the police officers who literally pummelled him, landing punch after punch,” he said. “I can’t believe that New York City’s Finest are trained to get into a boxing match with an individual. It saddens me.”

Hikind points out, per the surveillance video, that the suspect did not once raise his hands to the police. Additionally, Hikind spoke with the person who runs the facility who said that the man was not in fact trespassing, but had permission to be at the center.

“This person had permission to be there. He was sleeping on a couch during the holiday. Police woke him up and literally wanted him to leave,” Hikind told 1010 WINS. “He [said] ‘Why must I leave? I’ve been here for weeks, using this facility.’ This individual was partially homeless, he didn’t have a place.”

Councilman David G. Greenfield is also called for further investigation in a statement he released and said that the two officers should be fired.

“These appear to be two of the worst members of the NYPD. It is an embarrassment to the entire outstanding police department that two trained and armed police officers were unable to arrest this individual without resorting to the disturbing violence clearly shown on the video. By my count, one officer punched the victim over 20 times after he was already subdued,” Greenfield said in a statement. “We must send a message that this type of violence against New York City citizens by anyone, much less police officers, will not be tolerated.”

While it is still unclear who summoned the police in the first place, 21-year-old Ehud Haleavy was charged with assault, trespassing, resisting arrest, harassment, and unlawful possession of marijuana, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said in a statement. Browne also added that the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident and said it has also been referred to the civilian complaint review board.

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