Police officers received a call on Monday October 8, 2012 about a man sleeping in the Aliya Institute lounge. The institute is located on East New York Avenue and the caller might not have known that the homeless man, Ehud H. Halevi, had permission to be there. Aliya is short for Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults and it is an outreach center and synagogue for troubled youth in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.
A male and female officer responded from the 71st precinct to wake the man. The man became confused as to why he was being harassed by the officers and refused to go outside with them when they requested. He asked that the officers allow him to prove that he was permitted to be in the center. The officers did not provide him with that chance as they placed him under arrest.
The male officer lost his cool when Halevi resisted arrest and started beating the him. Halevi was defenseless the entire time. A video of the incident is embedded in this post and it shows the male officer getting into a boxing stance and approaching the man, who was being hit from all sides.
The female officer then pepper sprays the man and beats him with a truncheon while exhibiting no threat to the officer during the entire incident. After the beating, which lasted close to three minutes, more officers arrive to help the original two place the man under arrest and into handcuffs.
An unidentified source was able to confirm that Halevi had permission to be in the center and actually had been living in the center for a month. There had been no trouble from the man whatsoever either. News outlets still do not know who placed the call to police or why the call was placed.
To make matters worse in this case, Halevi has been charged with assault on a police officer, which is a felony. If he is convicted he could face five years in prison. Halevi has also been charged with four misdemeanors and four violations that include harassment, resisting arrest and trespassing. He has since been released on bail. Aliya has not issued comment on the incident.
Internal Affairs from the New York Police Department is investigating the beating and the male officer, who has yet to be identified, has been placed on modified duty. The Civilian Complaint Review Board has been referred the case and the District Attorney from Brooklyn has also opened an investigation.