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New York - On Floor at NYC Council Greenfield Demands "Jaywalking Officer" Be Held Accountable Over Shabbos Gaffe

Published on: December 1, 2010 02:19 PM
By: Press Release
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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.

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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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1

 Dec 01, 2010 at 02:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Kudos to mr. Greenfield for demanding justice for this disgusting religious persecution, this is Flatbush not Montana, the NYPD is well aware of Shabbos and its restrictions, these officers should be reprimanded to the fullest extent.

2

 Dec 01, 2010 at 02:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Greenfield looks very nervous and unpolished.

3

 Dec 01, 2010 at 02:43 PM Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

4

 Dec 01, 2010 at 02:50 PM Askupeh Says:

David I'm becoming more and more impressed with you. Sharp and to the point. Wishing you a long and healthy career helping people.

5

 Dec 01, 2010 at 02:57 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Greenfield looks very nervous and unpolished.

We've had enough from "polished" politicians. The ones who accomplish the most are those who are unpolished and speak their minds; straight shooters like Dov Hikind and now David Greenfield.

6

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:16 PM shvigger Says:

So now Emert is a Rabbi.

7

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:25 PM Yonason_Herschlag Says:

This is not a bes medrash. Leave out the divrei torah when addressing goyim, and get to the point.

Get real. The goyim are not going to understand that a police officer doesn't have the right to demand that a person writes down his name and address. That's standard policy, and for good reason. If a person gives a false ID verbally, nothing can be done. However, if he gives a false ID in writting, he can be prosecuted for fraud.

Would a Jew refuse to write down his name because of the shabbas, and then be arrested for j-walking, there would be grounds for making a case against the police to change that policy. However, trying to make a case out of police policy that demands that someone without ID write their name down is doomed to fail.

8

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:30 PM sheineputz Says:

lets wait till all the details come out

9

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:35 PM stavnitzer Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Greenfield looks very nervous and unpolished.

I'd say he looks MAD rather than nervous. If such a chutzpa would happen in my neighborhood and I'd be the councilman I'd be nervous, but councilman Greenfield handled this like all other problems he deals with daily in a very polished way.
BP has BH spoken very powerfuly and elected a councilman that works for ALL of us.
Hatzlochah rabba councilman.
thanks

10

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:43 PM AuthenticSatmar Says:

I am more concerned about the officers giving a jay walking ticket. I bet that neither officer ever wrote such a ticket, and directly target this 'Rabbi' as a direct jewish discrimination. To me that is equally as important as violation his shabbos rights.

11

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:50 PM Briskerrav Says:

Basically every orthodox jew nowdays is called a Rabbi...

And it doesn't mean he had a hetur he just lost himself ... under the pressure of these chayos

12

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:54 PM Gules Says:

Actually in the 66pct i am aware that if the NYPD has to make an arrest they will wait until after shabbos and pick up the suspect.

They are well aware of the sabbath.

13

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:55 PM Interested Says:

Why don't we quit all the nit-picking and just thank Mr. Greenfield for standing up for us all?

14

 Dec 01, 2010 at 03:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

First of all writing english in shabbas is not an isor Torah becuse its not a ksav only Loshon Hakodesh is considerd a ksav 2nd his family will defently will be mechalel shabbes by calling police to look for him so someone will be for sure mechalel shabbes

15

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Notice the black guy sitting to Greenfelds left. Either he has a sever case of hiccups or turettes syndrome.

16

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:32 PM Anonymous Says:

There has to be a large deomonstration in front of the 61st precinct, with the news media present. Those two cops are going to have to be transferred to a very bad neighborhood. The latter action would be the ultimate punishment. If the Rabbi told the cops that they were welcome to come to his house, for his ID, what was the problem? I think they knew that he wasn't allowed to write on Shabbos, but they wanted to humiliate him. There are many cops who hate observant Jews. I worked with the cops in the old 90th precinct on Lee and Division Avenue, in Williamsburg. They used to refer to the Chassidim as "The Beards". In addition, I heard them making other nasty comments about the Chassidim.

17

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
sheineputz Says:

lets wait till all the details come out

Why should we wait? Why not comment now? Who says "all the details" will ever come out??

18

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:33 PM curious Says:

If this is the Rabbi Emert I know, he is very respectable. I think he might have been concerned that the police could behave the way they did, they might just throw him in the car and leave him for dead somewherE. Crazier things have happened.

19

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:43 PM Avrohomk Says:

Why do we have to make a big deal about it and :hold them accountable"? Just meet with the Officer in charge of the precinct and ask nicely for him to tell his officers not to do this again. A Jew in the public arena has to be so careful and to make an issue out of this makes us look like the kvetchy Jews who have to take over everything. Is this really worth it? I think not

20

 Dec 01, 2010 at 04:59 PM Anonymous Says:

I would have said, I understand you are just doing your job, but I absolutely cannot break Jewish law, so I understand if you have to arrest me. Poor man probably wishes he had, in hindsight.

21

 Dec 01, 2010 at 05:12 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #3  
Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

Who are you to be Dahn another Yid put in a predicament. It reminds me of a story. A Rabbi asks his pupils what they would do if they found a million dollars on Shabbos? One student answers that he would not pick it up. The Rabbi tells him; "you're an idiot", the next student says that he would pick it up. The rabbi tells him "you’re a Sheigets, you haven't yet found it and you're already ready to be Mechalel Shabbos”. The next student answers, I hope that I will have the Ko'ach to withstand this Nisoiyen. The rabbi says "Azoi Redt Ah Yid".

Someone already said that there might be Heteirim in an emergency, but either way we have no right to second guess him. He was there, not you. Who knows what he feared?

22

 Dec 01, 2010 at 05:37 PM TheSavageNation Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Kudos to mr. Greenfield for demanding justice for this disgusting religious persecution, this is Flatbush not Montana, the NYPD is well aware of Shabbos and its restrictions, these officers should be reprimanded to the fullest extent.

In Montana they are more respectful than Brooklyn

23

 Dec 01, 2010 at 06:30 PM Abraham Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Notice the black guy sitting to Greenfelds left. Either he has a sever case of hiccups or turettes syndrome.

Whats the point?

24

 Dec 01, 2010 at 06:36 PM yaakov doe Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Notice the black guy sitting to Greenfelds left. Either he has a sever case of hiccups or turettes syndrome.

Yes, Council member Jumaane D. Williams of the 45th District has Turettes.

25

 Dec 01, 2010 at 07:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

you should be ashamed of yourself- its cause of people like you people go off the derech. first of all you are supposeed to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, second of all he wrote with a shinui and third of all there was a person in his family who it could have been sakonas nefoshos. leave your nasty, foolish and ridiculous comment to yourself happy chanukah rabbi i know better than you!

26

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:00 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #3  
Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

Here is a question for you, which would have been the worse aveirah, writing his name or riding in the police car to the police station in which case they might have detained him and insisted that they drive him home.

27

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:01 PM Attorney Says:

Thanks!!! Councilman, you did a great job, as usual. We now have two great leaders Dov Hikind and David Greenfield. Happy Chanukah to all.

28

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:02 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #3  
Duvid123 Says:

With all due respect to this fine 'Rabbi' Emert, but since when does a arrest or worried family warrant chillul Shabbes? Would the worrying trigger a life threatening situation for one of his family members? Otherwise according to what I understand, it appears as if (although he didn't want to) he was mechalel Shabbes for no permissible halachic reason. Can someone explain?

As for Mr. Greenfield, you are doing a wonderful job on behalf of us all. Keep up the great work!

I wonder how you would react if you found yourself in a similar situation. It's easy to be an armchair judge. In my opinion Rabbi Emert did the right thing. He picked the lesser and less enduring Safeik chillul Shabbos. This is not the right forum to go into all the detailed exegesis (Yes. There is such a word. Look it up in a good Dictionary.) of why the Rabbi made the right decision under the circumstances.

29

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:05 PM nmbyid Says:

To #14.

Actually, according to the vast majority of Poskim, writing in any language is Osur min haTorah. Also, no one is privy to the amount of pressure Emert was facing. So please don't judge

30

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:05 PM Dr. Z Says:

It's sad that some would see fit to criticize this person who was clearly under duress, and was understandably fearful of being arrested, thrown in jail (which necessitates a strip search, fingerprinting, etc) without even the chance to notify his family (which would have inexorably lead to their initiating a search for him, which would have involved chilul Shabbos).

He did the right thing. The police officer did the wrong thing. It's that simple.

(Whether it's worth publicizing this and getting a lot of fellow police officers riled up is another issue.)

31

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:06 PM oy_vey Says:

Don't break the law. You won't have to worry about "persecution".

44

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:12 PM motti from 52 Says:

SoRry not impressed from mr greenfield at all

The way is to deal with the police stations in private bashing them in public won't help us day to day it won't even help Greenfeld public relation effort

45

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:12 PM curious Says:

Reply to #19  
Avrohomk Says:

Why do we have to make a big deal about it and :hold them accountable"? Just meet with the Officer in charge of the precinct and ask nicely for him to tell his officers not to do this again. A Jew in the public arena has to be so careful and to make an issue out of this makes us look like the kvetchy Jews who have to take over everything. Is this really worth it? I think not

Because that is not the way things get done!

46

 Dec 01, 2010 at 08:51 PM Mark Levin Says:

Since when do we, in the United Socialist States Of America, have to carry ID? There is NO such law!

That being said, I wonder if the former community organizer now council person will apologize profusly if it comes out that the story isn't as was reported.

47

 Dec 01, 2010 at 09:23 PM YUDA20 Says:

I read lots of post at regular news website who reported this story and most of the posters of course are goyim of which most of them don't get the fuss around this story, I believe that were are making to much noise about this and therefore creating more hatred from the street against us, the right thing to do is to quitly teach the officers of the NYPD some basic things that jews aren't allowed to do on shabos and I do believe that this will not happen again. The way we act now with this big blown out of peportion media sensation story about this rabbi is just having the oppesite effect with the goyim getting a sence that we must be treated differently like the chosen people and the regular laws do not apply to us only to non jews.

48

 Dec 01, 2010 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
oy_vey Says:

Don't break the law. You won't have to worry about "persecution".

Oy-vey, do you sincerely believe that you will only be persecuted if you break the law? Are you also saying that jay-walking warranted the officer's behavior? Please.

49

 Dec 01, 2010 at 10:34 PM Anonymous Says:

These heavy handed cops are going to have to learn that there will be penalties for their actions. When I studied physics, our professor told us that "for every action, there is a reaction". Hence, if we act like nice quiet Jewish boys, the cops will humiliate and harass us further. In 2006, when an assistant chief of the NYCPD, at the Borough Park disorders, was overheard making obscene statements about the Jews, he was transferred out of the 66th precinct. Surely, two lower ranking street patrol officers, can also be transferred. I would have them pounding a beat, in the worst neighborhoods of the city. Let the cops rant and rave; they must realize that they can no longer push us around. Incidentally, how come we haven't heard from the esteemed Mayor Bloomberg and Chief Kelly, about this incident?

50

 Dec 02, 2010 at 01:39 AM The_Beadle Says:

Reply to #21  
Askupeh Says:

Who are you to be Dahn another Yid put in a predicament. It reminds me of a story. A Rabbi asks his pupils what they would do if they found a million dollars on Shabbos? One student answers that he would not pick it up. The Rabbi tells him; "you're an idiot", the next student says that he would pick it up. The rabbi tells him "you’re a Sheigets, you haven't yet found it and you're already ready to be Mechalel Shabbos”. The next student answers, I hope that I will have the Ko'ach to withstand this Nisoiyen. The rabbi says "Azoi Redt Ah Yid".

Someone already said that there might be Heteirim in an emergency, but either way we have no right to second guess him. He was there, not you. Who knows what he feared?

What a terrible teacher the Rabbi in your story is. Calling his students idiots and shkotzim for getting the wrong answer. I understand your point, but I wouldn't have used such a nasty piece of work as an example of the way to behave.

51

 Dec 02, 2010 at 01:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Sherree Says:

Here is a question for you, which would have been the worse aveirah, writing his name or riding in the police car to the police station in which case they might have detained him and insisted that they drive him home.

If the police FORCE him into the car – he is an anus.
Voluntarily writing is a different story. I’m not judging him just answering you…
Happy Chanukah!

52

 Dec 02, 2010 at 07:17 AM are you kidding? Says:

Reply to #49  
Anonymous Says:

These heavy handed cops are going to have to learn that there will be penalties for their actions. When I studied physics, our professor told us that "for every action, there is a reaction". Hence, if we act like nice quiet Jewish boys, the cops will humiliate and harass us further. In 2006, when an assistant chief of the NYCPD, at the Borough Park disorders, was overheard making obscene statements about the Jews, he was transferred out of the 66th precinct. Surely, two lower ranking street patrol officers, can also be transferred. I would have them pounding a beat, in the worst neighborhoods of the city. Let the cops rant and rave; they must realize that they can no longer push us around. Incidentally, how come we haven't heard from the esteemed Mayor Bloomberg and Chief Kelly, about this incident?

Thes cops are not going to have to learn anything, and you not only misquote the physics law, you misapply it in your post.

The cop in this case was a jerk who overstepped his bounds. The Jew, unfortunately, made a huge mistake in overrreacting to at worst, a jaywalking ticket.

There is no recording of this incident, so the cop will likely deny the version printed here, and nothing will happen to him.

The man who wrote his name and number shouldn't have, he overreacted because he was genuinely scared under the circumstances, and reacted how he thought he had to at the time. He did it, it's over, get over it.

All the Monday-morning quarterbacking you yentas all want to do is a waste of time. Bloomberg is not coming down to apologize, Obama is not going to start a pogrom investigation, if this person wants to file a complaint with the police or have his assemblyman do it, great, it will probably be buried for lack of evidence anyway.

The Jew made an honest mistake, let it go, and don't make him some kind of martyr.

You cannot go back and change what happened, and there are more important things in the world to deal with now.

53

 Dec 02, 2010 at 08:52 AM Anonymous Says:

To #52-"Mr. Are you Kidding"- My point was that if the cops are going to mistreat us (an action), then we are going to deal with it (a reaction). Your "solution", is to sweep this matter under the rug. Ignoring a problem will invite further incidents. In 1973, in Williamsburgh, some NYCPD cops wanted to arrest a frum Jew on Shabbos, on a minor violation. He told them that he could not ride in the patrol car, but he would willingly walk to the precinct, which was a short distance away. The cops manhandled the Jew, threw him into the patrol car, and clubbed in the head a number of Yeshivah students, who came to see what was going on. In this case, the cops intentionally targeted the Rabbi for jaywalking. There are thousands of jaywalking incidents every day in NYC. When was the last time that jaywalking tickets were given out on Kings Highway on Shabbos? A little over 50 years ago, when Sen. John F. Kennedy was at the same location where this incident took place, the motorcycle cops in the area, were intentionally racing their motorcycles at the crowds in the street. Some pedestrians got so incensed that they knocked a cop off his motorcycle. I saw the cops engaging in that conduct.

54

 Dec 02, 2010 at 11:36 AM shtill Says:

Reply to #6  
shvigger Says:

So now Emert is a Rabbi.

Do you know that he is not?

55

 Dec 02, 2010 at 11:13 PM completely clueless Says:

Reply to #53  
Anonymous Says:

To #52-"Mr. Are you Kidding"- My point was that if the cops are going to mistreat us (an action), then we are going to deal with it (a reaction). Your "solution", is to sweep this matter under the rug. Ignoring a problem will invite further incidents. In 1973, in Williamsburgh, some NYCPD cops wanted to arrest a frum Jew on Shabbos, on a minor violation. He told them that he could not ride in the patrol car, but he would willingly walk to the precinct, which was a short distance away. The cops manhandled the Jew, threw him into the patrol car, and clubbed in the head a number of Yeshivah students, who came to see what was going on. In this case, the cops intentionally targeted the Rabbi for jaywalking. There are thousands of jaywalking incidents every day in NYC. When was the last time that jaywalking tickets were given out on Kings Highway on Shabbos? A little over 50 years ago, when Sen. John F. Kennedy was at the same location where this incident took place, the motorcycle cops in the area, were intentionally racing their motorcycles at the crowds in the street. Some pedestrians got so incensed that they knocked a cop off his motorcycle. I saw the cops engaging in that conduct.

thank you for your senior-moment reminiscences, they have nothing to do with this case.

So go ahead and deal with it, big shot. what are you going to do? run your mouth off on VIN?

What in the world does this incident have with the other (if it really even happened) years before this cop was even born?

Your foolishness belies your apparent age, by which time you should have acquired SOME wisdom. But it appears that didn't happen.

You are a big talker, talking the talk, but not able to walk the walk.

56

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