Man Files Lawsuit Over Police Beating At Crown Heights Jewish Center

A Brooklyn man whose beating last year by two police officers was caught on videotape filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against the officers and the city.

Ehud Halevy’s complaint alleges that the 21-year-old was punched about two dozen times in an Oct. 8 beating that lasted more than two minutes. He also was pepper-sprayed in the face, according to the complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

A spokeswoman said the city Law Department would review the papers.

The two officers, Luis Vegan and Yelena Bruzzese, responded to a call of a dispute inside the outreach center at the Aliya Institute in Crown Heights.

The synagogue has since said that Halevy was sleeping in a back room and had permission to be there.
Video from a security camera showed the officers confronting Halevy.

At one point Vega landed a hard right that knocked Halevy onto one of the couches.

Halevy put up a struggle, Vega pummeled him and Bruzzese appeared to hit him with a baton before he was finally subdued.

Halevy was arrested on charges that included assault, resisting arrest and trespassing. He spent four days in jail, but the charges were eventually dropped.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has called the video “disturbing.”

Halevy’s attorney, Norman Siegel, said his client suffered physical pain and psychological trauma as a result of the beating. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


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