CROWN HEIGHTS — Prosecutors have dropped the charges against alleged police brutality victim Ehud Halevy, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced Monday.
“After review of all available evidence I have decided to dismiss the charges against Ehud Halevy,” Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Those close to the 21-year-old Flatbush natives say the young man is elated.
“He’s feeling very good about things,” said Rabbi Moishe Feiglin, the director of the ALIYA outreach center for Jewish youth in Crown Heights, which was where surveillance cameras captured two police officers repeatedly pummeling Halevy, 21, after he refused to leave early Oct. 8.
“In the beginning he was really down, but in the past week he’s come together. He’s very grateful for the support everyone’s given him.”
Crown Heights’ close-knit Jewish community reacted with outrage after a video surfaced showing Officer Luis Vega, a 20 year veteran of the NYPD, repeatedly punching a shirtless and unarmed Halevy. The itinerant youth had been sleeping on ALIYA’s couch for more than a week when he got into a dispute with a volunteer security guard, who told police he was sleeping naked in the center’s women’s section.
Halevy was arrested and charged with assault, trespass, resisting arrest, and harassment in connection with the Oct. 8 incident.
Vega has been put on desk duty pending further investigation. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the 71st Precinct Station house last Friday to demand that the officer be terminated.
Precinct commander Deputy Inspector John Lewis refused to speculate publicly on the incident, but he told community members the officer would face stiff penalties if allegations of wrongdoing are substantiated.
“If there are any inconsistencies in the officer’s statement, the district attorney is going to look into that,” Lewis told residents at a precinct community council meeting Thursday night. “We need to have faith and confidence in our officers in the field. The penalties are very, very severe.”