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Video of police beating in Brooklyn sparks investigation

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 9:17 PM EDT, Mon October 15, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Video shows male officer hitting suspect dozens of times
  • It also shows a female officer striking suspect repeatedly with a truncheon
  • "This video does not indicate New York's finest," assemblyman says

New York (CNN) -- A New York police officer is under investigation after a video emerged showing him beating a 21-year-old man at a community center in Brooklyn, police said Monday.

The incident occurred at 5 a.m. on October 8, after police received a call about a dispute at the ALIYA Center in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, police said.

There, police came upon Ehud Haleavy, who refused to leave the women's portion of the center, the statement said.

"The officers used force" to make the arrest, and Haleavy was charged with assault, trespass, resisting arrest, harassment and unlawful possession of marijuana, according to the statement, from Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne.

The incident was caught on camera and obtained by CNN from CrownHeights.info.

The video shows a bare-chested, bearded man talking with two officers -- one of them a woman -- in what appears to be a game room containing a pool table and two couches.

The video shows the officers approaching Haleavy, who is on one of the couches, and talking to him. Moments later, he stands and talks with the officers, gesticulating with his arms but making no apparent threat toward either officer. The video has no sound.

When the officers attempt to grab him by his arms, Haleavy pulls free of their grasp.

At that, the male officer, 41, crouches into a boxing stance and hits the victim more than a dozen times, striking him in the face, the back of his head and his torso. Haleavy falls back into a couch, where he raises his arms in an apparent attempt to deflect the blows, but at no point does it appear that he is seeking to strike either officer.

Later in the video, the female officer can be seen striking Haleavy repeatedly with a truncheon.

More than three minutes into the video, about 10 more officers enter the room, where they cuff Haleavy's wrists behind his back and lead him out.

"This video does not indicate New York's finest," Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. "You begin to wonder how often things like this happen."

Haleavy "keeps his arms down and in back of him, but he is the one who gets arrested with felonies against a police officer," Hikind said. "It's just lies, lies, lies."

The department's Internal Affairs Bureau has opened an investigation into the incident after reviewing the video, according to Browne.

The matter was also referred to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

ALIYA -- an acronym for Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults -- seeks to serve "spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and vocational needs of young adults in the Crown Heights community," according to its website.

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