Hasidic Jews can be some of the most insular, mouthy, and generally obnoxious people in the New York City area. And the New York Police Department's first Hasidic Jew cop seems to fit that mold to a T.
The confrontation occurred on Monday June 29th, 2009, but I just learned of it today on the Vanguard News Network Forum, and was outraged enough to post it. According to WABC Channel 7, Chrissie Brodigan had removed her pug dog Dempsey from its carrying case after exiting the subway at the Beford Avenue station in Williamsburg because he had thrown up inside it (probably from smelling too many Negroes). Anyway, a NYPD officer spotted her and attempted to cite her for not having the dog in its carrying case.
But it wasn't just any cop - it was the NYPD's first Hasidic Jewish cop, Joel Witriol, replete with yarmulke. Hasidic Jews are known to have very sexist attitudes towards their women; it's not uncommon in Israel for a woman to marry a Hasidic or other Orthodox Jew, then spend her whole life working to support both of them so he can study Torah all the time. In any event, Witriol allegedly began making sexist remarks towards Brodigan, telling her, "If you're going to act like a woman, I'm going to treat you like a woman." The discussion became heated, and Witriol used force against Brodigan, kicking her, grabbing her breasts, and punching her in the back to subdue her. Moments later, Brodigan was in cuffs up against the wall. When interviewed by the media, Brodigan showed bruises on her leg, her arm and her wrist.
At the ensuing press conference, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "There's no indication of that. And if the complainant says she was, and that will be investigated by the civilian complaint review board." But an eyewitness took pictures of the confrontation and corroborated Brodigan's story, and called the officer's actions excessive and unprofessional. The witness said Brodigan never uttered anti-Semitic remarks, in response to a claim made after the fact by the officer.
Brodigan admits she got a bit mouthy with the cop, but strongly denied making any anti-Semitic remarks, and said the officer was way out of line and should pick up some additional training on how to deal with people. Ultimately, she got three citations - one for failure to provide identification, another for failure to have dog in a container, and a third for disorderly conduct. Podblanc video of WABC report embedded below:
But this story then took an ugly turn. On July 9th, the Gothamist reported that Chrissie Brodigan lost her job at Plum TV over the incident. Two days after Brodigan's arrest, the New York Post, a notorious NYPD mouthpiece, published a hatchet job on Brodigan in which they claimed they found a mysterious "witness", subsequently identified as Viane Delgado, who said that Brodigan had told the Hasidic cop, "You fucking Jew, you're not even human. Jewish people think they own everything." It is unknown whether or not this allegation was included in the police report, but it is at variance with witness statements to the contrary. WPIX Channel 11 also picked up this story.
Nevertheless, Plum TV used Delgado's charge as an excuse to terminate Brodigan for alleged "dishonesty". According to Brodigan: "I was terminated for "equivocating" in the press. My boss [Chris Glowacki] is threatening to not offer an agreeable severance package, including health insurance, which is crucial because I have cystic fibrosis and he is aware. He's angry that this is out in the press. I think he made a judgment based on perceived bigotry."
But on July 29th, the Gothamist reported that things took a slight turn for the better. During a hearing at the MTA's Transit Adjudication Bureau, Hearing Officer Alexander Fox ruled that two of the citations — one for failure to provide identification and another for failure to have dog in a container — were invalid because they had been "materially altered" by Officer Joel Witriol, who was absent from the hearing. Copies of the tickets given to Brodigan list 3:51 p.m. as the time the citations were issued, but official copies turned in by Officer Witriol to the Bureau showed the time was crossed out and changed to 4:51 p.m. Such after-the-fact alterations can automatically invalidate a ticket.
Perhaps that was Witriol's way of "apologizing" for his conduct. By altering the tickets, he was throwing the case. But Brodigan doesn't agree, although she doesn't think Witriol altered the citations by accident, either. "It is hard for me to believe that Officer Witriol did not realize that by altering my citations after he gave them to me that he was essentially invalidating all of them", said Brodigan. She has filed a complaint against the officer with the NYPD's Civilian Complaint Review Board, which may consider the invalid tickets during its investigation of misconduct. The third charge against Brodigan for disorderly conduct is still pending and will be heard in criminal court in late August.