Probe into video of man beaten by cops in Brooklyn - New York News

Probe into video of man beaten by cops in Brooklyn

By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A beating of a homeless man - one that began with a hard right-hand punch caught on videotape - has two police officers in hot water.

The New York Police Department's internal affairs unit and the Brooklyn district attorney's office were investigating the allegation of excessive force inside a Jewish community center in Brooklyn, authorities said Tuesday.

The NYPD opened its probe on Monday after being alerted to the clip from a security camera showing one of the officers repeatedly punching Ehud Halevy, 21, during an arrest on Oct. 8, department spokesman Paul Browne said.

Meanwhile, elected officials have demanded the department fire the officers, identified in court papers as Luis Vega and Yelena Bruzzese.

City Councilman David Greenfield of Brooklyn called the alleged beatdown "insane." And Councilman Jumaane Williams, also of Brooklyn, branded it "another low for the abuse of police power."

The incident began after the two officers responded to a call of a dispute between a security guard and a man, Halevy, inside the outreach center at the Aliya Institute in Crown Heights. It's unclear what the dispute was about, but the synagogue has since said that Halevy was sleeping in a back room and had permission to be there.

In the audio-less video, the officers confront Halevy, shirtless and wearing sweatpants, and appear to order him to leave a room furnished with a couple couches and a pool table. A long argument ensues before the officers start to try to handcuff the man.

Halevy appears to push away Vega, who drops into a boxer's stance and lands the hard right that knocks Halevy onto 1 of the couches. As Halevy continues to put up a struggle, Vega pummels him and Bruzzese appears to hit him with a baton before he's finally subdued.

Halevy was arrested on charges of assault - based on the officers' claim he attacked them - resisting arrest, trespassing and other minor charges. The Brooklyn DA's office declined to comment Tuesday when asked if the case against him would be dropped.

Watch the video: http://bit.ly/RPAtUB

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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