Ehud Halevy, the young man who was recently beaten by police officers inside of a Crown Heights community center, made his first public appearance since the incident, in a news conference with his lawyers Wednesday. He described the incident and his subsequent assault arrest in short, careful terms, adding that there was much he didn’t remember. Halevy said he “was sort of shocked, surprised,” when he learned of the arrest–which could have landed him in prison for seven years if the charges weren’t dropped–adding that he initially worried that in the heat of the moment, maybe he “accidentally hit the cop.” “But then I thought for five seconds, and I thought it’s not true,” he added. “It’s a lie.”
Halevy also detailed what he could recall of the encounter itself, saying that he didn’t anticipate violence, and that he maintained that he had a right to be in the community center through the argument (Halevy had received permission from the rabbi who runs the center). “He told me to leave,” he said of one of the officers. “I told him I had a right and permission to stay where I am. He wouldn’t listen. I swore at him. He tried handcuffing me. I pulled my hand away, and then he started beating me up.”
Patrick J. Lynch, president of the ironically-titled Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, maintained that the officers didn’t do anything wrong, saying that if a suspect resisted handcuffs, officers. “must use force to gain compliance and handcuff the offender.” “In this case, it is clear from the video that when the officer attempted to take the subject’s arm, the culprit resisted by twisting and turning away,” he continued. “Using force always looks severe but is necessary to arrest a culprit who resists.”
Decide for yourself after watching the surveillance footage below.