NEW YORK (Jan. 8)
Assemblyman Samuel Hirsch (D. Brooklyn) was charged today at the police department’s Brooklyn central booking office with assault stemming from last month’s clash between angry Orthodox Jews and the police. Four other Orthodox Jews were charged along with Hirsch with assault and obstruction of justice. According to police, Hirsch was released pending a court hearing. The date for the hearing was set for Jan. 15.
At a press conference at the police station. Hirsch charged he was arrested because of his complaint against police prejudice against minorities. The other four persons were charged Hirsch said, only to make his arrest “look good”.
Hirsch, his aide Mathew Abraham, and Mark Landesman, a lawyer, were charged with third degree assault, a misdemeanor, and were released pending a court hearing. The two others, Max Schechter and Bernard Weiselberg, were charged with second degree assault and criminal mischief; respectively. They were scheduled to be arraigned later in the day.
During the Dec. 2 clash between Orthodox Jews and the police in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, some 3000 Jews protested the murder of a Sabbath worshiper and lack of adequate police protection in the neighborhood. Hirsch was injured during the melee along with other demonstrators and policemen.
Hirsch told reporters yesterday that he and the four others were arrested because “or pressure” on the Mayor and the police department. “These are political arrests,” Hirsch charged, adding. “They are not based on evidence. And under out system of justice that is wrong.”
The police department first revealed it planned to arrest Hirsch and the others at a meeting last Friday between Police Commissioner Robert McGuire and first Deputy Commissioner William Devine and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), JCRC executive director Malcolm Hoenlein said today. He said the police officials told the JCRC that it was investigating whether any policemen were guilty of violating the law during the fracas at the Borough Park police station.
The JCRC, which has been trying to resolve the Borough Park dispute since it first erupted, discussed all aspects of police relations with the Jewish community throughout the city, Hoenlein stressed He said there was a “very frank exchange” and some results were achieved which would be announced in the future.