Homeless man brutalized by NYPD files federal suit

Video showed man beaten by police who found him in a synagogue outreach center where he was permitted to sleep


Natasha Lennard
January 24, 2013 9:40PM (UTC)

Last fall, we reported footage released of NYPD officers brutalizing a shirtless, shoeless homeless ban who was sleeping (with permission) in a Brooklyn synagogue youth outreach center.

21-year-old Ehud Halevi was beaten and pepper sprayed, as security camera recordings show, spent four days in prison and faced a string of charges including felony assault on a police officer -- charges which were later dropped when the district attorney reviewed the disturbing video. This week, Gothamist reports, Halevi filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD with the help of famed civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel. Siegel, the former director of the NYCLU told the Gothamist that he is confident Ehud will be awarded compensatory damages. He told the site:

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Looking at the video, you can see the male officer hit him more than two dozen times and woman repeatably strikes him with a baton between a dozen and twenty times. She pepper spays in his face in eyes. This goes on for more than two minutes, and as a result that kind of emotional trauma that happened that evening is still with him.

They caused Ehud to sustain not only physical pain but psychological and emotional trauma. Their actions constituted outrageous and reckless conduct and they violated his civil rights. Whenever I talked to him and asked him to go over details of that night you could see in this face he tenses up and he has to relive what happened on Oct. 8th and that creates emotional scars. They will be with him for a long time, I think.

You don't usually get a video demonstrating clear evidence of this stark, repeated police brutality.

The footage of Halevi's beating, obtained first by local news site CrownHeights.info, can be viewed below (warning: graphic):


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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