New York - On Floor at NYC Council Greenfield Demands "Jaywalking Officer" Be Held Accountable Over Shabbos Gaffe
New York - Councilman David G. Greenfield recounted the story Chanukah at yesterday’s Stated meeting of the New York City Council as he called for two New York City Police Officers to be held accountable for forcing Rabbi Shalom Emert to violate Shabbos, under threat of arrest, last Friday night.
Greenfield, before a full meeting of the City Council, (watch below YouTube) detailed the history of Chanukah and its significance. “We celebrate this over two thousand year old victory,” explained Councilman Greenfield, “because it was a momentous victory of religious freedom over religious persecution. And religious persecution is sadly woven throughout the history of the Jewish People.”
Greenfield then continued with the story of Rabbi Emert. The Rabbi, a resident of Midwood, was walking home from shul Friday night when he got stuck in the middle of Kings Highway while trying to cross. He was immediately approached by two police officers from the 61st Precinct who demanded his identification in order to issue him a summons.
Rabbi Emert explained that, because it was Shabbos, he was not carrying a driver’s license, but would be happy to verbally give his name and address to the officers. When the officers insisted that they needed his identification, the Rabbi asked the officers if they would walk him to his home down the block where he could provide the officers with his driver’s license. The officers refused and threatened to arrest him if he did not write his name and home address down on a piece of paper. Rabbi Emert pleaded with the officers, explaining that it would violate Jewish law to write on Shabbos, but to no avail. Under threat of arrest, and concerned that he would be unable to contact his family if he were brought to jail, the Rabbi was forced to commit chillul Shabbos by writing his name and address for the officer, who then issued him a summons.
“So many of us Jews are thankful for the protections afforded to us by the United States of America,” said Councilman Greenfield. “Particularly, our constitutionally protected right to practice our religion freely.”
The Councilman went on to make a public call for the NYPD to hold the officers involved in last week’s incident accountable for their actions, which violated Rabbi Emert’s rights and religious freedom. “I am calling today on the NYPD, who I am a big fan of…to hold these officers fully accountable for this shocking breach of a New Yorker’s civil rights,” concluded Greenfield.
Greenfield previously called for a full investigation into this incident by the NYPD, and that investigation is currently underway. Councilman Greenfield felt that using this high-profile forum, on the floor of the City Council Chamber in front of his 50 Council colleagues, would send an urgent message to NYPD officials at the highest levels to not only hold these officers accountable, but to ensure that incidents like this never happen again.
Video below of Councilman Greenfield’s remarks at yesterday’s full meeting of the New York City Council.
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