New York - NY Times Profiles Shomrim: A Valuable Community Asset Or Vigilante NYPD Wannabes?
New York - Less than a month after two Chasidic Williamsburg men entered guilty pleas for their part in the beating of a black man in the December 2013, the New York Times has released a scathing article blasting Shomrim patrols, questioning whether the patrols have a disproportionate amount of influence with the NYPD.
Over the years there have been several incidents where members of the Brooklyn patrol groups have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. One former Shomrim member was arrested for bribing NYPD officers to provide him with gun permits, and in other instances, beatings by Shomrim members in response to alleged criminal actions were found to be unwarranted.
Yanky Daskal, head of the Brooklyn South Safety Patrol, described his men as “upstanding volunteers,” noting that a few “bad apples” have given the group a bad reputation.
“It’s a very sad reality in our community that you have many people dedicated to helping and a small minority of critics on the sidelines questioning our motives,” said Daskal.
Steven McAllister, commander of the 66 Precinct in Borough Park for a period of three years, said that he worked closely with Shomrim, who gained his respected as a trusted liaison to a community that would always regard him as an outsider.
McAllister recalled that Shomrim members were among the many from the Chasidic community who stood in line for hours to welcome him when he first started at the precinct, each one introducing himself as the point man for the community.
“All of them came in saying: ‘Hi, I’m so-and-so. I’m the most important guy around. Don’t pay any attention to the next guy,’” said McAllister.
While many have criticized lawmakers who have funded Shomrim and provided them hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment, Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that the money was well spent.
Hikind acknowledged that while Shomrim is an asset to the community, sometimes the boundaries between law enforcement and the volunteers can be blurred.
“Sometimes if you get very close, you forget the fact that they are the police and we are the shomrim,” said Hikind. “There has to be a barrier.”
Read the full article at the New York Times (link here ).
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