Councilman David G. Greenfield is demanding the immediate suspension of two police officers after an incident on Friday night in which the patrolmen from the 61st Precinct allegedly forced an Orthodox man to violate Jewish law.
According to Yeshiva World News:
[A] resident of Midwood was walking home from synagogue on Friday night, wearing the traditional black hat and jacket worn by observant Jews, when he admittedly jaywalked across the street. While jaywalking, he was stopped by two police officers from the 61st Precinct who demanded his identification in order to issue him a summons.
The man was happy to give his name and address to the police officers, but he had no identification at the time. The man was not carrying his driver’s license because observant Jews do not drive, and are also prohibited by Jewish law from carrying items, on the Sabbath. The young man asked the officers if they would walk him to his home down the block where he would then provide the officers with his driver’s license. The officers refused and threatened to arrest him for jaywalking. The young man pleaded with the officers, but to no avail. Under threat of arrest, they forced the young man to violate Jewish law by writing his name and address down and then issued him a summons.
“Our constitution guarantees us the right to practice our religion without fear of persecution,” Councilman Greenfield proclaimed. “Are there no major crimes occurring in this city that these two officers can spend their evenings ticketing jaywalkers in residential neighborhoods? Why couldn’t these officers simply have escorted this religious person to his home? There was no reason to force this observant Jew to transgress the Sabbath by forcing him to write when the officers knew that they were going to write down his information anyway to hand him a summons.”
Greenfield is a Sephardic Jew representing Midwood, Boro Park and Bensonhurst.