Cops Beat Homeless Man

Monday, October 15th, 2012

 

Here’s the context:

On Monday evening, October 8, 2012, police were called about a man who was sleeping in the lounge of the Aliyah Center on East New York Ave. The caller may have mistakenly believed that the homeless man, Ehud H. Halevi, was loitering on the center’s property without permission.

Aliyah is a synagogue and outreach center for troubled youth in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Two officers from the 71st precinct, one male and one female, arrived and woke the man. Confused as to why he was being accosted by police, the man refused the officers’ attempts to escort him outside, insisting that he had permission to be there and asking that they allow him to prove it.

His pleas fell on deaf ears, and they proceeded to place him under arrest.

When he resisted arrest, the male officer flew into a rage and began to beat the defenseless man. As can be seen in the video below, the officer assumed a boxing stance and then lurched towards his victim, pummeling him from all sides.

Over the next couple of minutes the man is also pepper-sprayed and beaten with a truncheon by the female officer, all while posing no threat to the officers’ well-being whatsoever.

After a good two minutes of sadistic thrashing, the officers are joined by a squadron of their peers, and successfully put him in handcuffs and under arrest.

A source confirmed with CrownHeights.info that the man had full permission to be there, and had been living there for a month without any trouble. It is unknown who called the police or why.

And it wouldn’t be a police beating without the obligatory charge against the victim for assaulting the police officer’s fist with his face.

The guy clearly wasn’t cooperating. But he wasn’t breaking any laws. Even if you don’t think the beating itself is excessive (I do), why not contact someone at the center to see if his story checks out before you move in with the cuffs? Why move immediately to confrontation, and then to escalation?


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72 Responses to “Cops Beat Homeless Man”

  1. #1 |  Jim | 

    @llamas “I’ve been a copper, and I have news for you – some people choose not to voluntarily assist the police with their inquiries.”

    As is their RIGHT.

    But what ‘copper’ gives a flying @#$# about that?

    Back to PoliceOne with ya, thanks for stopping by.

  2. #2 |  Carl Drega | 

    llamas, I think your post might be confusing to people (assuming anyone but us is still on this thread) by making it seem the civil law can overrule statutory law. While in your state the court threw the law out as unconstitutional, it could not have simply decided to choose to enforce common law over a statute. To be clear, statutory law is superior in all contests between a statute and the common law, with the sole exception that the statute violates a state or federal constitution.

    I haven’t seen the case you cited – I’ll look into it after work.

    the Pennsylvania law is 18 Pa.C.S. § 505(b)(1)(i).

    Also see Commonwealth v. Jackson http://www.courts.state.pa.us/OpPosting/Supreme/out/J-58-2007mo.pdf

    “In Biagini, we addressed whether a defendant who is arrested without probable cause could be prosecuted for crimes he committed in response to an officer’s attempt to unlawfully arrest him. The co-defendants in Biagini argued that because the initial encounter with the police was an unlawful arrest, all additional charges arising from that arrest were invalid. Id. We disagreed and stated individuals do not have a right to resist arrest even when they believe the arrest is unlawful.

  3. #3 |  llamas | 

    @ Jim #50 – oh, great, another case of reading comprehension deficit, and irony-impaired as well..

    Look back to where I wrote:

    ‘He doesn’t have to answer their questions or provide them with any information whatever – all he has to do is stand still.’

    Trust me, I’ve forgotten more about the rights of the citizen in these sorts of encounters than you ever knew.

    llater,

    lllamas

  4. #4 |  varmintito | 

    llamas:

    It appears that from the outselt the police were attempting to perform an arrest, as opposed to a Terry stop.

    The hallmarks of an arrest are (1) custody, based on (2) probable cause.

    The hallmarks of a Terry stop are (1) non-custodial questioning, based on (2) a reasonably articulable suspicion.

    Once there is an attempt to restrain or cuff, it becomes an arrest, which requires probable cause for it to be legal.

    That is why Terry is all about the purpose and scope of the “frisk.” It’s sole purpose is to determine whether the subject is armed in a manner that presents an immediate danger to the police officer (i.e., if it feels like a handgun, or a knife, or a taser, or a heavy, rigid bar).

    Your hypo mixes this up as well:

    “[T]ry this thought experiment – an officer is despatched to your house late at night in response to reports of a woman screaming, the sound of breaking glass and shots fired. As he pulls up in the driveway, a man walks past him carrying a shotgun and womens’ undergarments, and dripping blood. He says to the man ‘Stop! I want to speak with you!’. The man replies. I don’t believe I will, goodnight, oficer’ and keeps walking.”

    I believe most judges would find your hypothetical to be adequate probable cause for a custodial arrest.

    The typical Terry stop involves far more ambiguous behavior, and the key is that it is non-custodial. The reason they exist is that that most people will comply with a police request for a non-custodial interrogation, and will submit to a pat down. If they do not want to comply with a request for a non-custodial interrogation, however, they are permitted to walk away if PC is lacking.

    Moreover, flight does not create PC.

    Let’s face it, the only crime committed by the guy on on this tape was contempt of cop.

  5. #5 |  el coronado | 

    Awright, Agitators, here’s a question for the lot of you. Balko’s been dutifully posting proof of the ‘out of control, militarized, ninja-wannabe, turning into a street gang that is (apparently) entirely above the law’ for years now – and doing a great job of it. I read ’em & get pissed; y’all read ’em and get pissed; and the furious comments fly thick and fast.

    Inevitably, though, the comment threads devolve into ‘Legal Chat’. “Well, per the ‘Smith’ decision of 1995…”; “Per the ‘Jones” decision of 1974….” etc etc ad nauseam. If the thread goes on long enough, it literally ends up as useful a debate as ‘How many cops can lie under oath on the head of a pin?’

    Meanwhile, the cops get worse every single year. More aggressive. More brutal. More trigger-happy. More likely to kill a dog – any dog – that just happens to be nearby. More open in their utter contempt of anybody who ain’t a cop. At the same time, courts and prosecutors are a) following down the same tyrannical path and b) refusing to punish the mad dog coppers – unless there’s *absolutely unassailable* video evidence AND political pressure to prosecute the cop in question. Which don’t happen too often, does it.

    And still, as (mostly) in this very thread, we’re distracting ourselves from the issue at hand by everybody playing amateur legal scholars. So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades? (You’d be absolutely *amazed* how many city/county/state judges are married to [usually fairly senior] cops, BTW. Interestingly, that info is almost never reported.) Or do you think it’s going to require more direct, brusque, unorthodox, outside-the-box action to rein them in?

  6. #6 |  JLS | 

    el coronado “So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades? (You’d be absolutely *amazed* how many city/county/state judges are married to [usually fairly senior] cops, BTW. Interestingly, that info is almost never reported.) Or do you think it’s going to require more direct, brusque, unorthodox, outside-the-box action to rein them in?”

    No I can’t imagine it being reformed or changed in any way through the normal legal channels. Legislators are pathetic object cowards and will never let themselves be seen as anything other than support “our brave heros in blue” and the courts and press aren’t any less deferential.

    The only way it will ever change will be through violent revolt or through a Soviet style breakup when cities will no longer be able to pay for these standing armies.

    One thing is clear to me, as an institution the police in America are evil, just evil, like Hitler’s Gestapo evil and they will get theirs someday, hopefully soon.

  7. #7 |  llamas | 

    @varmintito #54, who wrote:

    ‘The hallmarks of a Terry stop are (1) non-custodial questioning, based on (2) a reasonably articulable suspicion.

    Once there is an attempt to restrain or cuff, it becomes an arrest, which requires probable cause for it to be legal.’

    No, you are very much mistaken. The courts in many states, as well as the Federal courts, have held that a “Terry stop” may include significant elements of physical restraint, including holding the citizen, locking the citizen in a vehicle, making them stay inside their own vehicle, or handcuffing, without it necessarily morphing into an arrest. A lot depends on circumstances and the apparent willingness of the citizen to comply with the temporaray detention without resisting.

    I don’t want this to degrade into a battle of citations, so will leave it to our gracious host to state whether he wants more answers to various other erroneous or incomplete statements – including at least one of my own.

    To the question posted by el coronado, namely:

    ‘So here’s the question: Do any of y’all really believe the cops will be brought to heel by the same legal system that they’ve been intimately & intricately plugged into for decades?’

    my answer is – regretfully – no.

    The changes that need to take place are in other places, including recruitment, training, incentivization (positive and negative) and funding. By the time the excesses of police officers or their departments come to the attention of the CJS, it’s already too late.

    The first and most effective way to reduce the sorts of police behaviours that are constantly on parade here is to end the War on Drugs and sweep away all of the assaults on civil liberties made in its name. This is the single largest perverse incentive that causes individual officers, as well as the system as a whole, to behave the way they do.

    But, of course, it may be too late already. The WoD provides a good living for vast armies of CJS employees, many of them unionized, who will fight tooth-and-nail against any steps that might reduce their numbers or their incomes – and civil liberties be damned. Look at how the correctional-officers union in CA is literally leading the state government around by the nose.

    It will take a bold leader at the Federal level, and many more at the State level, to undo the damage done by the WoD. I do not see any such on the horizon.

    Sorry.

    llater,

    llamas

  8. #8 |  CyniCAl | 

    I think it’s cute that the lady officer tried to help the man officer.

    The reason that cops beat and torture people is because they are selected for sadistic tendencies. If you do not have a predisposition to violence, you are not selected to be a cop. Period.

    One might as well wonder why water is wet.

  9. #9 |  TanborFudgely | 

    America is a police state.

  10. #10 |  Danny | 

    I have seen this in a nice neighborhood in suburbia with a working class guy, not surprising that a big city cop does the same to a homeless person. Neither will apologize, neither will get more than a suspension. We serve them, they serve their union and without a doubt, WE SERVE THEM AS AN INCONVENIENCE if we think we have constitutional rights and deserve a little work before the cuffs come out.

  11. #11 |  Militant Libertarian » Cops Beat Homeless Man | 

    […] His pleas fell on deaf ears, and they proceeded to place him under arrest. […]

  12. #12 |  Charlie O | 

    #55 el coronado. Best post of this thread. Kudos.

    I don’t believe for a second that the legal system or spineless asswipes commonly known as legislators will ever address this. (Can’t be “soft” on crime.) It is going to take an armed populace and a stack of dead blue bodies for this crap to stop. That’s all they understand. Once it becomes clear to the boys in blue that the American public will not longer be bullied, killed and maimed at random, they start to think twice.

    That said, however, I ain’t holding my breath. In general, Americans are the same sheep and cowards as the public servants they hire to “protect” them.

  13. #13 |  demize! | 

    #55 Agree completely #56 Agree completely

  14. #14 |  Scott Grissom | 

    Nothin says God Bless America like the police beating up a defenseless homeless guy. When all the cops come rushing in I thought this might be an old Keystone Kops spoof. It was like a clown car just pulled up. How much back up did they call for?

  15. #15 |  Howie Feltersnatch | 

    I have to side with the cops on this one. First of all, they didn’t “beat him to a pulp.” The guy can still walk at the end, and he isn’t spraying blood. That’s not getting beaten to a pulp, that’s hardly even “getting tuned up.” Second, all this mope had to do was comply. But no, he decided to go the hard way. What do you want the cops to do? “You’re under arrest.” “No.” “Okay then, sir sorry to trouble you.” Third, it’s not like they’re kicking ass out on the street. Someone summoned the cops here. They had good reason to assume he was an intruder. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

  16. #16 |  Howie Feltersnatch | 

    Awesome, you have no interest in presenting dissenting opinions. You’re no better than the cops you hate.

  17. #17 |  Anton | 

    There is a petition by the Rabbi in charge of the Youth Center to have all charges dropped against the young man here, please sign it: http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-ehud-halevy-drop-all-charges

  18. #18 |  tinoj3 | 

    (cops) always crying nobody likes us!! I wonder why? I like when they send them to prison, then they’ll get what they deserve!!

  19. #19 |  usedtobelieve | 

    You people need to know that as of late, police officers are given personality tests and the ones that “lack empathy” are hired. It used to be that you had to have strong moral conviction to be a cop, that’s not the case anymore…it’s the thugs that probably bullied kids at school and the power hungry that are purposefully hired as cops nowadays. I look forward to the day when the powers that be are tried for these crimes against humanity…it’s already starting to happen and will continue to happen. People have had enough.

  20. #20 |  Dave | 

    From my UK viewpoint, this all looks like the despicable use of gratuitous OTT force without checking any facts and I would hope that the officers involved are disciplined, not to mention some kindly legal beagle helping out and suing the pants off them.

  21. #21 |  A.R. | 

    At least they didn’t kill him, like six pigs from Fullerton did to a homeless man there.

    http://justiceforkelly.com/

  22. #22 |  Cops Beat Homeless Man | Popshot | 

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