Bigwig Lawyer Takes Halevi Case
By COLlive Reporter
Noted New York civil rights and civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel has agreed to take on the case of Ehud Halevi, the young man who was brutally beaten by 2 NYPD officers.
Following a 2 hour meeting Tuesday, Siegel said he and his associates at Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, LLP will be providing legal defense to Halevi on criminal and civil matters.
“It is an honor to be representing Mr. Halevi,” Siegel, former director of the ACLU affiliate – New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), told COLlive.com. “Our goal is to achieve justice and accountability.”
Elected officials and Jewish activists have called for a full investigation into the conduct of officers Luis A. Vega and Yelena Bruzzese after security camera footage surfaced of them beating Halevi on the holiday of Shmini Atzeres at the Aliya Institute in Crown Heights.
The shocking video was posted by COLlive.com on Sunday night and has since been reported about in the general media, along with other copies of the video posted on Youtube.com.
“What is good in this situation is that we have video,” Siegel said. “The (police) report said that he was criminally trespassing – not true. He had permission to be there. The report says he assaulted an officer – again, not true, as can be seen on the video.”
After the repeated beating on October 8, the 21-year-old unarmed Halevi remained incarcerated for 4 days, which Siegel sees as another violation of his rights.
“We call on the Brooklyn attorney’s office to dismiss all criminal charges and to focus not on Mr. Halevi but the police conduct,” said the attorney who took the case with his colleagues Herbert Teitelbaum and Saralee Evans.
“The officers exhibited unjustified excessiveness on my client resulting in a horrific experience that continues to have an effect on him,” added Siegel who was raised in Boro Park and is often mentioned in the New York press.
In a statement Tuesday, U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn called for an oversight of the NYPD by an independent Inspector General.
“This violent behavior calls into question the extent to which our City’s police officers, when responding to citizens in distress, are trained,” she said.
“The relationship between the NYPD and communities of New York City becomes fractured when officers threaten the safety of the people they are sworn to protect.
“The number of instances in which police have failed in their duty to protect and serve, such as this attack and the misuse of Stop and Frisk policies, demonstrates a need for reform.”
“We must make sure this doesn’t ever happen again,” added Siegel.