The Satmar Ruled Brooklyn Part V – From a 2016 Article, The Shomrim and their Unbridled Power

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Time to Bridle the Shomrim’s Ability to Behave with Impunity – Sunset

To our Readers: We have taken the blow from a 2016 post on another blog “Haemtza”. There is nothing in our use of the below post that should indicate that the blogger who wrote the piece endorses our site. Please click to the original to read it in its original format.

We believe the piece has value, even more today than on the date it was written because, amongst other things, it predates the arrest of Yanky (Jacob Daskal) on sexual assault charges, which we believe was an arrest that characterizes the impunity with which the Shomrim behave.

We feel that today, more than in 2016 when this piece was written, there is reason to be concerned by the unbridled power of the Shomrim.

We feel that the Shomrim is a dangerous enterprise, not governed by the same rules, guidelines and hierarchies that govern law enforcement proper; and for that reason, if no other, it represents lawless vigilantism.

We believe that it is time to dismantle New York’s Shomrim forces for “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” Lord Acton, and the Shomrim have outgrown the ability of any other police force to properly enforce its activity. It is a form of government sanctioned control over a community and control over others from within that community and is dangerous. It will only become more dangerous if not reined in now.

Emes Ve-Emunah

A Forum for Orthodox Jewish thought on Halacha, Hashkafa, and the social issues of our time.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shomrim – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There is much that is good about the Chasidic world. It is a brotherhood like no other. It is that sense of brotherhood that in my view was the impetus for forming the Shomrim Society back 1977. Shomrim are a group of usually Chasidic Jews that are volunteer neighborhood watchmen. Kind of like Curtis Slewa’s Guardian Angels. They patrol Jewish neighborhoods in order to provide protection against things like vandalism, muggings, assault and domestic violence.

The Shomrim Society has spread beyond its original borders of Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Boro Park, and Flatbush . There are now branches in cities like Baltimore, Miami, Lakewood, and London.

The fact is that a lot of Jewish residents in those areas are happy that they exist. They seem to have political support and some (if not universal) police support – who are happy to have some of their burden relieved by them. Shomrim even has some government funding. They not only add an extra layer of protection to those Jewish neighborhoods, they are often seen by Jewish residents as a first line of defense against crime. Their response time is generally a lot quicker than the police.

There is not a doubt in my mind that there has been more than one occasion where an elderly victim was spared a mugging or an assault because of their quick response. And not all of the people they help are Orthodox Jews. According to a 2014 story in the Hackney Gazette:

…around 70% of the victims (in London) they help are not from the Orthodox Jewish community, usually just local residents from any race or religion.

Although I tend to doubt whether that 70% figure is anywhere near in a Chasidic enclaves like Williamsburg, I do believe that if a caller in distress is not Jewish, they will respond to them just the same.

But that is not the end of the story. I have had my issues with these self appointed watch groups. While there may be a benefit to having that kind of protection by one’s own people, there is a definite downside that makes me question their ultimate value.

The truth is I never liked the idea of volunteer neighborhood watch groups. My feeling has always been that despite the fact that theywere created to protect their communities, many of them were basically police ‘wannabes’ looking for adventure but untrained to do police work.

True, they do not carry weapons (thank God). But a lot of damage can be done with a fist. Or a foot. Or a stick. In their zeal to protect the innocent, they will sometimes go overboard. And in some cases hurt innocent people – mistaking them for a perpetrator. Now this can happen to police too. We all know what has been happening on this front these days. Ask the families of mostly black victims unjustly killed or beaten by the police in cities all over this country.

The difference is that the police are trained to know when and how to react – and how much force to use. So that hopefully – as bad as the recent cases of police brutality have been – they are a very small minority of the police department. As a percentage of the whole, the numbers are probably miniscule. There are bad apples in every group. But Shomrim have no such training. Certainly not on the level of the police department.

 

So, although I am happy that many people have been spared great tragedy as a result of quick response by Shomrim – preventing for example violence against an elderly Jew –  it comes at a terrible price. A price that can best be described in a Forward article by attorney, Michael Lesher. If it were up to him, he would abolish these groups entirely. And with good reason:

The Brooklyn Hasidim accused of beating a young, gay black man named Taj Patterson back in 2013 are reportedly about to get a plea deal so sweet, they won’t serve a single day in prison. Patterson, who was beaten so badly that he was left blind in one eye, and who had homophobic slurs hurled at him throughout the ordeal, is surely having a hard time understanding the aftermath.

I don’t know the details of this case. But it surely smacks of something way beyond protecting fellow Jews. I don’t think that beating and blinding a suspect while hurling homophobic insults at them is what protecting fellow Jews is all about. And this is not the first nor only case where excessive force was used. More from Mr. Lesher:

For too long we’ve allowed a system of Jewish-run patrols to dominate the heavily Orthodox Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn, usurping the role of the official police force (with key support from vote-hungry politicians), despite their record of violence toward non-Jews. And for years we’ve held our tongues as the patrols’ unchecked behavior carried on… When retired police captain William Plackenmeyer told Newsday in 2003, “In Brooklyn, it almost seemed like there were two penal codes, one for the Hasidic community and one for everyone else…”

When Michael wrote an article in the New York Post exposing some uncomfortable truths about Shomrim this was in part the response he got:

To continue reading click here.

The Satmar Run Borough Park, NY, 66th Precinct Retirement Celebrated – Where Lines Get Blurred

VIDEO

 

Detective Joe Vitella, the Longtime Community Affairs Liaison at the 66th Retires and Borough Park’s Satmar Offer a Celebration

Det. Joe Vitella, the longtime community affairs liaison at the 66th Precinct, retired today after 27 years in the NYPD

Detective Joe Vitella has been credited with taking down Shaya Lichtenstein, the Shomrim member who pleaded guilty in a gun-permit scandal. Vitella had been asked to testify in the trial of former Deputy Inspector James Grant who was ultimately acquitted. https://nypost.com/2018/04/26/feds-want-cop-in-bribe-string-to-testify-at-nypd-trial/. Vitella himself was not implicated and we make absolutely no suggestion that he should have been.

He has retired with a string of laudatory credits to his name. But the majority of his praise comes from the Satmar community covered by that precinct.

For us, what remains disturbing is the gray area that characterizes the lines drawn between the police department, the community boards and the Shomrim of Borough Park.

We are concerned lest a private community be favored by a police department, not in how that department protects its precinct but in how they handle the badly behaved within that precinct. 

We fear that it may be the roosters running the hen-house and wonder why the Borough Park papers offered Vitella praise in painstaking detail but his retirement is really not mentioned elsewhere. We begrudge Retired Detective Joe Vitella nothing. Mazel Tov on your retirment.

We do ask, who is running whom within the walls of that community and the doors of that precinct.

Borough Park Shomrim Member, Moshe Steinberg, Aiding and Abetting a Scofflaw – on Video… oh…and the racism

Group of Brooklyn Residents Help Motorist Escape NYPD Tow Truck (VIDEO)

A group of Brooklyn residents helped a motorist escape a tow truck operated by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday. Video of the incident made its way to social media on Friday when a Twitter user posted the footage in order to apparently help the NYPD identify some of the culprits.

Brooklynites can be heard shouting in the video as the driver guns their minivan to break out of a set of tow bars previously deployed in the Borough Park neighborhood at the corner of 44th Street and 15th Avenue.

Much of the off-camera commentary is in Yiddish but some of the taunting becomes racial–clearly directed toward the NYPD traffic agent, who is black.

“You’re in the wrong precinct,” someone says. “He should work in Harlem. They’ll kill him over there.”

Another voice is somewhat more sympathetic.

“Oh this is so bad,” a man says, “the guy worked his ass off for a half hour.”

The incident also made waves on the Kensington Brooklyn NY Facebook group where the post’s author noted:

“Scofflaw motorist” HAS 37 VIOLATIONS including 3 School Zone Speed Camera Violations🤬
… Boro Park Shomrim member Moshe Steinberg Unit-22 caught on tape assisting scofflaw motorist flee from NYPD. Steinberg is also seen harassing NYPD officer as bystander taunts the officer with racist remarks.

Both the Twitter and the Facebook post identify the Shomrim–a Jewish neighborhood watch volunteer group–as taking part in helping the motorist dodge the tow truck’s grasp.

“I thought Shomrim was suppose to assist the NYPD?” the Twitter user asked out loud in a separate post.

The NYPD issued a stinging rebuke of the crowd’s behavior.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel told the New York Daily News.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

The traffic agent had reportedly already completed all the necessary paperwork and thus the driver’s information was collected so they are still expected to ultimately pay the necessary fine at least. They could also face additional charges.

The Shomrim Run Amok, Terrorizing Traffic Enforcement, Only 1 Example

Dear Readers:

An article of LostMessiah from 2016 has been reprinted on another WordPress site, one dealing specifically with police corruption. We would like to thank the editor.

If the public at large cannot count on its police force to protect it, there can be nothing more than utter lawlessness.

The link to that reprint is: https://corruptionbycops.com/index.php/2019/01/13/shomrim-the-protectors-or-players-1-9/  In that article, in 2016, we suggested that many of the Shomrim had questionable motives and we found it difficult to draw straight line. In other words, we thought many of the members of the Shomrim were bent.

We pose the following questions to you: when do the Shomrim cross the line between lawful protectors and mafia-style enforcers? Are they above the law because they are conveniently positioned to help their own when the opportunity to presents itself? And, are New Yorkers safe if the Shomrim are wearing uniforms suggesting they are assisting law enforcement but are in actuality terrorizing those who are indeed holding the public at large accountable.

The article below is just another concrete example of a system gone utterly wrong. It proves that the hens are ruling the hen-house and nothing good can come of it. The Shomrim in the recent news article below are nothing more than criminal enforcers, thugs. Something should be done before the difference between right and wrong in the City of New York, particularly the Shomrim run neighborhoods, becomes indiscernible. 

Brooklynites gang up on NYPD traffic agent trying to tow car

An angry mob of Brooklynites pounced on an NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent when he tried to tow their friend’s car, then harassed and taunted him for doing his job, video of the incident shows.

The melee began on Thursday morning in front of 1501 44th St. in Borough Park when an NYPD tow truck was dispatched to remove a brown minivan that was parked illegally.

A group of angry residents quickly swarmed the location and began removing the car from the hitch, police and union representatives said.

“Before the tow driver could raise the vehicle so the motorist couldn’t leave the scene people from the community… got in the car and drove off,” said Marvin Robbins, first vice president of the Local 283, which represents tow truck drivers and other city workers.

Robbins said the person who got into the car was not the owner of the vehicle but instead part of a Shomrim, a collection of Jewish community watchdogs who engage in police matters and supposedly work hand in hand with the NYPD.

The men outside trying to stop the tow from happening worked together to help the minivan flee — a black SUV was in front of the offending van and the men instructed the SUV to get out of the way.

“That allowed [the minivan] to escape,” Robbins said.

Video of the incident posted to Twitter shows the traffic agent attempting to reason with the person driving the minivan, walking up to his window to try to get him to stop before the van sped away.

Then, the men on the sidewalk began taunting the traffic agent and making fun of him.

“This is so great,” one guy sneered.

“What a loser… This guy worked his a– off for like a half hour,” he went on.

Another man can be heard yelling to the traffic agent, who is black, “You’re in the wrong precinct… you should work in Harlem! They’ll kill him over there.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD said the attack against the traffic agent was unacceptable.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel said.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

A complaint has been filed with the 66th Precinct, and police said they have information belonging to the vehicle’s owner. He is expected to be charged with obstruction of governmental administration because he got in the way of a traffic agent doing his job.

Robbins said the agent has over 20 years as a tow driver and is expected to do his job and tow offending vehicles.

“This is what my drivers encounter on a daily basis out here in the City of New York… no one respects the tow truck operators,” Robbins said, adding the driver was back at work today.

“You try to remain as professional as possible but their backs are against the wall.”

As the men swarmed the agent, demanding his badge number and threatening to post the video to YouTube, one man could be heard saying, “This is my place, this is not your place.”

The agent eventually got into his tow truck and drove away.

“I think that he did the best that he could, he didn’t lose it, it could’ve went a totally different way,” Robbins said.

 

To read the remainder of the article click here.

66th Precinct, Shomrim, Violence and the Hispanic Victims of the Crimes, Who is Hating Whom?

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-false-accusation-orthodox-borouh-park-nypd-20181101-story.html

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Dear Readers:

We ask that you watch the video as linked above carefully.  It can be found on the page covering the related article on THE DAILY NEWS. 

Our sources have told us that it is not uncommon for Hispanic and other non-ultra-Orthodox community members to be “roughed up” by members of the ultra-Orthodox community and by members of the Shomrim (or neighborhood watch). We have been told that the non-ultra-Orthodox victims of these crimes rarely say anything at all for fear that anything they say will be deemed “hate speech” thereby paving the way for the involvement of the Hate Crimes Unit.

Self-defense should not be deemed a hate crime.

Our sources have stated that it is particularly colorful when these incidents occur in the 66th Precinct, with specific implications that precinct members are permitted to moonlight after work and moonlighting for the ultra-Orthodox community can be very lucrative.

We suppose it might also help with anger management at the end of a rough day…

We have been told that there are likely many more similar videos like the one above that either have not been exposed, are “lost,” “hidden,” or “missing.” The stories we are receiving are similar to tales of protection money and gang violence, though more common in the setting of “collections.”

It might be time for law enforcement to start paying attention to what is going on within the ultra-Orthodox communities. There are CCTV cameras everywhere in that community. If you are not finding one, or if the video happens to be missing or shut off, there is something very wrong.

The members of the ultra-Orthodox community are not generally sloppy. If there is no footage it is because someone did not want there to be footage.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-metro-false-accusation-orthodox-borouh-park-nypd-20181101-story.html

Hispanic man allegedly roughed up in his doorway by Jewish neighborhood security patrol raises questions about group’s tactics

An accusation that a Brooklyn man yelled “Kill all the Jews” sparked a wild confrontation that led to an arrest that was later voided — and raised questions about members of a neighborhood patrol who allegedly pulled the man from his home and roughed him up.

The confrontation, captured on video obtained by the Daily News, happened just past midnight last Thursday. The footage shows a 26-year-old Hispanic man getting accosted at the doorway to his home — on 42nd St., in the heart of Orthodox Borough Park — by two other men believed to be from Shmira, a neighborhood patrol group, a source said.

Shmira denied being involved in the confrontation, saying it showed up on the scene after the Hispanic man was involved in the altercation at his front door.

“We absolutely didn’t do anything wrong,” said Levi Leifer, the director of Shmira of Borough Park.

Police said the incident started when the Hispanic man and an Orthodox man argued about a blocked car. At some point, police said, the Hispanic man tried to get into his home.

But video taken from across the street showed the Hispanic man being followed up the stairs by another man, then pushing back as the man appeared to be keeping him from getting inside. Eventually, a third man joins in as the Hispanic man is pulled back outside and roughed up.

The video ends with a van pulling up in front of the house and several men piling out of it, as one of the men involved in the confrontation at the doorway motions towards it.

Police said the Orthodox man involved in the argument about the blocked car called Shmira and reported that the Hispanic man yelled “Kill all the Jews” and punched him. The same allegation was made to police.

The source said other video shows the Hispanic man crossing the street, then arguing with two Orthodox men who accused him of breaking into cars.

“Kill Jews,” they later accused the Hispanic man of saying. The Hispanic man, who could not be reached for comment, at some point was able to call police, the source said.

Neighbors told The News varying accounts, including that the Hispanic man mentioned he wanted to kill Jews.

The Hispanic man was arrested based on the account of the first Orthodox man he argued with. He was taken to the 66th Precinct and the Hate Crime Unit was called in to investigate. After video was located the Hispanic man was released.

Police wouldn’t say what led to the decision not to charge the men seen roughing up the Hispanic man, though Leifer said Shmira has given the NYPD a roster of all its members.

A law enforcement source said the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is considering assault charges in the case.

The DA’s office had no comment.

To continue to the original article, click here.

66th Precinct – What’s the Going Rate for a Corrupt Cop?

nypd_corruption

Lt. Michael Andreano Joins the Ranks of those Alleged to be in Bed with the Epidemic of Corruption within the Ultra Orthodox Community of Borough Park and Beyond…

 

NYPD lieutenant stripped of badge, gun over ties to bribery scheme

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

A high-ranking Brooklyn cop has been stripped of his badge and gun over ties to a key figure in an alleged $1 million NYPD bribery scheme, The Post has learned.

Lt. Michael Andreano of the 66th Precinct in Boro Park was put on desk duty as part of the wide-ranging corruption probe that has already resulted in pending charges against three NYPD bosses, sources said.

Andreano is suspected of having improper dealings with Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of the Boro Park “Shomrim” patrol who in April was busted on bribery and conspiracy charges involving pistol permits, sources said.

“This guy was tight with Shaya and would go out of his way to accommodate him,” a source said.

Andreano served as a community-affairs sergeant in the 66th Precinct before getting promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and transferred to the 60 Precinct in West Brighton.

He was transferred back to the 66th after “a month or two,” sources said, and put in charge of Special Operations there.

Andreano’s return was announced at a Community Council meeting in September 2015, according to the KensingtonBK blog.

Lichtenstein was allegedly recorded offering a whistleblowing cop $6,000 a pop to “expedite” approval of pistol permits for members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

During that conversation, Lichtenstein used a calculator to show that 150 permits would be worth $900,000, according to the feds.

He also allegedly bragged that he had already scored 150 permits for clients who paid him up to $18,000 each for the service but said he had lost his connection in the NYPD’s License Division.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor revealed there had been “continuous discussions” for Lichtenstein to strike a plea deal, and a judge gave both sides until Nov. 3 to come to terms or proceed with the case.

The cop who secretly recorded Lichtenstein, former License Division member David Ochetal, secretly pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities after admitting that he had accepted “lunch money” from Lichtenstein.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

What is the Return on An Investment in a Trip to The Holy Land?

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FROM THE TWITTER ACCOUNT OF THE NYPD 66TH PRECINCT… 

Why would community board 12 pay for the 66 precinct commanding officer to visit israel? What’s the quid pro quo?NYPD 66th Precinct

 

Contributor, Lost Messiah, July 18, 2016

NYPD 66th Precinct – Verified account ‏@NYPD66Pct

Back from a fantastic mission w @jcrc @BPEricAdams @NYPD90Pct @BrooklynCB12 @israel_police #Israel #life changer

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