(VINNEWS) New York - Public outrage ran high today in the wake of a vicious beating of a Jewish student in Crown Heights by two members of the NYPD as previously reported on VIN News and numerous elected officials joined with Assemblyman Dov Hikind at a press conference today held in Crown Heights. Among those showing their support were Senator Eric Adams, Assemblyman Karim Camara, New York City Advocate Bill DeBlasio, New York City Comptroller John Liu, and City Council members Letitia James and David Greenfield.
Prominent Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who served for fifteen years as the director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, spoke with Zev Brenner today about the beating, which took place last week on Shemini Atzeres, in an interview that aired tonight at 8 PM on WMCA.
Siegel condemned the two police officers for their actions, calling them "uncalled for, unjustified and brutal" and expressed his view that the officers in question be brought up on charges for the beating, which was captured by security cameras.
"This was not New York's finest in its finest moment," said Siegel.
Siegel was quick to add that while most of the city's police force do their jobs well, there are others who fail to do so, either due to a lack of training, or out of disrespect for the people they encounter and that some police officers, when faced with an individual who doesn't comply with their requests, lose control.
"There is no need for excessive force and that video is the quintessential excessive force," said Siegel.
Another issue that may have factored into the violent confrontation was anti-Semitism, according to Siegel, who said had the youth center been located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan he is confident that the outcome would have been very different and that when faced with anyone who doesn't fit the mold, in this case a bearded, Orthodox, shirtless young man, police officers will often stereotype an individual, which can potentially lead to violence.
Siegel urged the Jewish community to be outspoken in their protests regarding this abuse of power by the two officers, saying that unless the community speaks out about the incident, he expects that little will happen.
"We should learn from history we can't be silent," warned Siegel. "If we don't speak up it will happen again and only get worse."