The man was alone in his car on 53rd Street between 17th and 18th Avenues at about 8 PM when he was pulled over by police officers for using his cell phone while driving.
According to the driver, two police officers positioned themselves on either side of the man’s car, with one asking for the driver’s license and registration and the other shining his flashlight through the passenger side window and into the vehicle.
Repeated requests by the driver to ask the officer to stop shining the flashlight in his eyes so that he could locate the necessary paperwork were met with hostility.
The driver said that the officers then pulled him out of his car, threw him onto the ground and handcuffed him. Due to construction at the 66th Precinct station house, the driver was taken to the 70th Precinct and issued a summons.
After going home to change his clothing, the driver returned to the 70th Precinct to file a complaint but was told that the matter needed to be resolved with the 66th Precinct. Officers at the 66th Precinct reportedly told the driver that he was lucky he hadn’t been thrown in jail.
Misaskim director Yanky Meyer who spoke with the driver last night at Maimonides Hospital where he was treated for bruises to his face and hand and said that an official complaint has been lodged with the NYPD.
City Councilman David Greenfield also went down to Maimonides last night and said it was clear from speaking to the driver that English is not his first language. Greenfield said that he was extremely disturbed to hear how police officers allegedly treated a senior citizen.
“The foundation of policing is ‘courtesy, professionalism and respect’ and it is difficult to see how that happened in this situation based on the information we have here,” Greenfield told VIN News. “When you see a 71 year old grandfather, your inclination should not be to drag him to the ground simply because he was fumbling for his paperwork.”
An NYPD spokesperson said that they were aware that an individual had been brought in for “being highly uncooperative and combative” during a routine traffic stop in Borough Park but had no information at this time that indicated that the driver had been mistreated by police officers.
Police said nearby security footage would be reviewed and witnesses to the incident would be questioned in order to corroborate the driver’s story.
According to Meyer, relationships between the Jewish community and members of the 66 Precinct have deteriorated because of the ongoing NYPD fraud investigation involving members of the Jewish community.