Assemblyman Dov Hikind and City Council member Simcha Felder might have broken bread with New York Police Department Chief Joseph Esposito in an effort to quell tensions after last Tuesday’s riots between black-hatted yeshiva bochers and blue-uniformed police officers.
But the controversy is far from dead, as this video that has been making the rounds in Borough Park shows.
Partisans of the ultra-Orthodox community see the video, allegedly shot during the riots, as evidence of police misconduct and even brutality against both rioters and bystanders.
But police department spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, saw a different scene. “The civilian in the video tried to push past a Police Captain and was restrained from doing so and he was then allowed to go on his way,” said Deputy Commissioner Browne. “Nothing in the video depicts any unnecessary use of force.”
For his part, Assemblyman Hikind, who represents Borough Park in Albany, said that he has both seen videos and heard reports of officers using their nightsticks against innocent bystanders as well as rioting car-burners.
“What was done by the community was absolutely outrageous, inexcusable,” the Assemblyman said. “But any police officer who violated the rules and was involved in any kind of brutality, that’s a separate issue and that has to be addressed. There is no excuse for that either. They are supposed to be disciplined. They are supposed to be professionals.”
– Lizzy Ratner