A Change.org petition calling for the dismissal of charges against Ehud Halevy, the 21-year-old whose beating at the hands of two NYPD officers was caught by a surveillance camera, has gathered over 9,250 signatures (at the time of publication.) Halevy was charged with a felony count of assault and three misdemeanors: resisting arrest, obstruction and criminal trespass. The video footage appears to grant little validity to the charges, and the police claims that accompany them.
The petition which is headlined “Justice for Ehud, drop all charges!,” states, “We members of the Aliya Congregation are calling upon the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to immediately drop all charges against Ehud Halevy, a member of our congregation who was attacked by two New York City Police Officers.”
Additionally, a protest took place Friday in support of Halevy in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, the neighborhood in which the incident happened. Several hundred supporters who turned up for the rally, chanted, “Stop police brutality drop the charges now.”
Rabbi Moishe Feiglin, the director of the Aliyah Center where the incident took place, began the petition after consulting with Norman Siegel, Ehud Halevy’s lawyer. When reached for comment by The Algemeiner he had this to say: “I asked Norman if it would help (in getting the charges against Halevy dropped) and he told me it would, anything to raise awareness of the issue would help. Within 48 hrs we got 1,000 signatures without any effort at promotion. Change.org just sent me an email telling me we had 10,000 signatures and they suspect we’ll get the 50,000 we are asking for sometime this week.”
A letter posted with the petition explains the background of the case, saying, “We gave Ehud Haley a member of our congregation who is currently homeless, full permission to sleep at the center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. But on October 8, Ehud Halvey was aggressively woken up from his sleep in the middle of the night, wrongly accused of trespassing, then repeatedly and violently attacked by two police officers. The brutal attack was all caught on video and shows the officers continuing to beat Ehud despite his lack of resistance. Ehud told the police he had permission to be there but at no point before the beating took place did the police try to contact anyone from the center.”
Of the two officers involved, Luis Vega and Yelena Bruzzese, only Vega has been punished. He was placed on desk duty this past week, pending a full investigation into the incident.
The District Attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment by The Algemeiner.
A video of Friday’s rally in support for Ehud can be viewed below.