The 61st Precinct police officer responsible for forcing an Orthodox man to violate Jewish law has been transferred out of the borough; meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector continues outreach to prove his officers respect the area’s residents and their beliefs.

Though the officer has been transferred, the case is still under investigation, and officers at the 61st Precinct have told Sheepshead Bites that, in the weeks following the incident, Deputy Inspector Mastrokostas has repeatedly stressed cultural sensitivity to his officers.

Mastrokostas also addressed the issue at the most recent Community Council meeting, saying that the officers under his command receive regular training on the customs of the district’s residents, and are undergoing additional instruction following the incident. [video above]

“What happened here was an isolated incident. I’m here now almost three years and this is the first incident like this that’s ever happened,” Mastrokostas said at the December 7 meeting. “The one thing that we always teach our officers is to be culturally sensitive to everybody out here.”

The unnamed cop is now patrolling northern Manhattan neighborhoods, after igniting controversy when he stopped Rabbi Shalom Emer for a jaywalking charge on November 28. Emer was not carrying identification, but the rabbi said the officer refused to walk with him the short distance to his home to get the information. Instead, the officer insisted he write his name down; writing during Sabbath is a violation of Jewish law.

“I think it is appropriate that this police officer was transferred out of a precinct with one of the lowest crime rates in the city, to a precinct with one of the highest,” Councilman David Greenfield said in a statement. “Surely, at his new precinct, he will make good use of his crime-fighting skills.”

The councilman said the offense was the only jaywalking summons issued in that precinct this year.

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  • Local Broker

    This cop is going to have a lot of fun writing jaywalking tickets in Washington Heights.

  • http://twitter.com/Microshock Microshock

    There was something I saw in my Supermarket that really annoyed me. It was the ShopRite on McDonalds ave. At the checkout lane, there were these black plates blocking all the magazines other than the name of the magazine.

    Apparently, jewish people are so offended at seeing beautiful women on magazines, they told the store to censor them. Seriously? I have no sympathy for these guys, they think they can use their religion as an excuse for anything.

    • RomanM

      You should at least try to hide your antisemitism a little better. Each religion has its own rules and beliefs. You don’t like the diversity of Brooklyn, please head on over to Gerritsen beach where they will accept you with open arms.

      No person, Jewish or not, told the store manager/owner to cover the magazines you are referring to. Jewish people as a group are not opposed to having those things be on display; they simply will choose to take their business elsewhere if they are bothered by it. That is their right, nothing wrong with that. If the store manager/owner chooses to accommodate a potentially large Jewish population, that is also his right. At the end of the day, he just wants to make a profit.

      Don’t confuse choice with religion. That being said every religion has rules that others not part of the religion disagree with. Deal with it.

      • http://twitter.com/nicktherat nick the rat

        yup, this wasn’t the government forcing the shop owner to cover the magazines, it was the shop owners own decisions.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        Read this before assuming that Shop-Rite wasn’t “told ” to cover the magazines

        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9502EFD6103CF937A35755C0A9669C8B63

        The 7-11 did not open on Avenue P.

        • levp

          As I keep saying here, not everything that’s LEGAL is necessarily RIGHT.
          It is LEGAL for Orthodox Jews to demand that “Every store on that street, Jewish or not, closes on Saturday”, but legality does not make it RIGHT.

          “I’ll be able to buy condoms for the first time in my life, in every variety” – this is just funny! So his religious convictions are not strong enough to keep him from buying condoms, he needs this stuff actually removed from stores. Is he, like, 5 years old?

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            I agree. My point is that pressure is put upon retailers to comply with what we euphemistically cal “community standards”.

            Jack Hanon’s projection reminds me of the Connecticut TV station that programmed “accidentally” an X rated movie when the station was supposed to be off the air. (Before the 1980s a lot of stations signed off after 1AM.) The station switchboard lit up with complaints-within minutes of the movie’s ending.

    • RomanM

      You should at least try to hide your antisemitism a little better. Each religion has its own rules and beliefs. You don’t like the diversity of Brooklyn, please head on over to Gerritsen beach where they will accept you with open arms.

      No person, Jewish or not, told the store manager/owner to cover the magazines you are referring to. Jewish people as a group are not opposed to having those things be on display; they simply will choose to take their business elsewhere if they are bothered by it. That is their right, nothing wrong with that. If the store manager/owner chooses to accommodate a potentially large Jewish population, that is also his right. At the end of the day, he just wants to make a profit.

      Don’t confuse choice with religion. That being said every religion has rules that others not part of the religion disagree with. Deal with it.

  • http://twitter.com/nicktherat nick the rat

    first off, giving people tickets for jay walking and seat belts is retarded. if you are stupid enough to cross the street in the middle of heavy traffic, its just the darwin effect. will the government ticket me if i decide to make toast in the bathroom next to a full tub? they should just stop you and inform you what you are doing isnt safe and continue on with their job.

    ive seen so many cops break so many of their own stupid laws every day it makes me sick.

    religious people make me laugh as well, they think they are some sort of exception to the human populace because of their mental disability (believing in fairy tales).

    i used to get so fucking pissed off in highschool when the religious kids were able to wear hats in class when i had to take mine off.

    • http://twitter.com/Microshock Microshock

      Exactly. They think their bullshit exempts them from the law.

      • Mike

        What law it there that you cant wear a hat in class?

        • http://twitter.com/nicktherat nick the rat

          i have no idea, but it was enforced in sheepshead bay highschool

          • levp

            John Dewey HS has strict rules against headwear of any kind (to prevent gang identification, they say).

  • Fpm42

    Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the God the things that are God’s.

    Civil law over Jewish law–what will we have next–Sharia law??? This is America!!

    • RomanM

      Excellent point. But the argument against the officer wasn’t necessarily because he chose Jewish law over civil law, but rather because he enforced a law that was otherwise not enforced. So he broke both civil law (local police policy) and forced a man to break Jewish law. The same thing would’ve happened if he forced a Muslim to take off his headscarf or forced a Christian to…eat meat on Friday during lent.

      • http://twitter.com/nicktherat nick the rat

        i dont ever remember giving a cop my signature when givin a ticket. strange. hmmm

      • Anonymous

        After the Pope said it was O.K. to eat meat when St. Patrick’s landed on a Friday I
        gave up meatless Friday’s all together. Yup, all it took for me was one exception to the rule.

  • Anonymous

    Transferring the officer involved was needed to keep peace with the community.
    Councilman David (in my opinion) did not need to add his remarks.
    Kinda like a kid saying Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      It was an unnecessary dig.

  • Anonymous

    Not that it would change anything,but…
    One commenter on Gothamist said it was more than jay-walking, The pedestrian was trapped on the yellow dividing lines. If he did not care for his own safety and if this is the case it was kinda stupid for and educated man to put himself there. Not to mention the possibility that someone would get sued for hitting him regardless.
    Does anyone know? Did he cross or get himself trapped?
    PS.. the comments on Goth are not as kind as here.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      The so-called sophisticated Manhattanites can’t behave themselves. Gothamist commenter are so much like rude children.

      The dividing line business complicates things..Did he start crossing before the light changed?

      This gets more confusing.

  • Chrisann444

    they should of never transferred him for something soooooo stupid