This isn’t the first time someone has been charged with assault after being the victim of a cop beating. And like prior cases, this one is revolting and confusing.
Ehud H. Halevi has permission to be present in the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults (Aliya) in Crown Heights. He is homeless but is not a trespasser. Someone apparently didn’t realize this and called the police when they saw him sleeping in the lounge area of the building.
Two members of the NYPD responded to the call and woke Halevi up. He tried to explain to the officers that he was allowed to be in the building, but the officers disregarded his explanation or attempt at explanation.
He refused to be escorted outside—knowing he had done nothing wrong. It was this refusal, the police believed, gave them reason to make an arrest. Halevi resisted and was beaten severely.
A video of the altercation can be seen, and in it you will see the male officer stand as if ready to box, with fists up. He then begins punching Halevi throughout his body. He was ultimately pepper-sprayed and beaten with a baton by the other (female) officer.
In the video, backup eventually arrives and Halevi is placed under arrest.
Aliya is an outreach center and synagogue. Halevi had been sleeping there, with full permission from administration, for the past month. It isn’t clear who called the police, but had the police done their job and actually investigated or at least given Halevi an opportunity to get the attention of an Aliya worker, the entire scenario could have been avoided. Instead, he was violently beaten.
The initial charges that someone faces is determined, in large part, by the arresting officers and their reports. In other words, if the police say you did something and their report reflects this, there’s a good chance you will face charges for it—especially if other officers corroborate the story. Whether or not the charges stick is a matter of evidence and the work of your attorney.
In this particular case, it seems at first blush that there would be little evidence to have a successful assault charge. However, you would be amazed at what flies as a legitimate charge where members of the NYPD are concerned.
If you are facing charges and you know the officer’s account of what happened is untrue or unfair, we may be able to help. You are innocent until proven guilty regardless of who you are or the charges you face. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.