NYPD Disciplines Officer Who Forced Yungerman to Violate Shabbos

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nypdCouncilman David Greenfield commended the NYPD on the swift disciplining of a police officer who stopped a yungerman in Midwood last month for jaywalking and demanded, under threat of  that the man violate Shabbos.

 Sholom Emert, a resident of Midwood, was walking home from shul on the night of Friday, November 26, when he got stuck in the middle of Kings Highway, a wide commercial avenue. Sholom had the right of way when he began crossing, but was unable to make it across Kings Highway before the traffic lights changed.  After crossing the second half of the street, against the crosswalk light, he was immediately approached by an officer from the 61st Precinct who demanded Rabbi Emert’s identification in order to issue him a summons for jaywalking.

Sholom explained to the officer that, as a Shabbos-observant Jew, he was not carrying his driver’s license because carrying items on Shabbos is prohibited by halacha. Sholom offered to walk with the officer a few hundred feet to his home where he could provide his driver’s license. The officer refused and, under threat of arrest, demanded that Sholom violate halacha by writing down his name and address. Sholom pleaded with the officer, but to no avail. Afraid that his wife and children would not know his whereabouts if he were placed under arrest, Sholom wrote his name and address down and the officer issued a summons.

“Our constitution guarantees us the right to practice our religion without fear of persecution,” Councilman Greenfield said after learning of the incident on November 28th. “There was no reason to force this observant Jew to violate the Sabbath by forcing him to write, especially when the officer knew that he was going to write down his information on the summons.”

Greenfield immediately called for a full-scale investigation, even taking to the floor of the New York City Council, just days after the incident, to highlight the severity of what took place.  Greenfield delivered an impassioned speech, right before the first night of Chanukah, using the Chanukah story to highlight the violation of religious rights by the officer in question.

Following Greenfield’s public and private efforts, as well as widespread community outrage over the incident, the NYPD undertook a thorough investigation, which has resulted in the administrative transfer for cause of the offending officer out of the borough of Brooklyn. All of this comes less than one month after the incident took place, and other disciplinary action is still pending.

“I think it is appropriate that this police officer was transferred out of a precinct with one of the lowest crime rates in the city, to a precinct with one of the highest. Surely, at his new precinct, he will make good use of his crime-fighting skills,” Greenfield quipped in reference to the officer being the first in his Brooklyn precinct to ticket someone for jaywalking all-year long.

“On a serious note, I am pleased that the NYPD understood the gravity of this situation and responded accordingly,” said Greenfield. “I particularly want to thank Brooklyn South Chief Joseph Fox and the Commanding Officer of the 61st Precinct, Georgios Mastrokostas, for conducting such a swift and thorough investigation. I am grateful for the service of our brave men and women in uniform, and I am certain that together we can continue to emphasize community policing while ensuring sensitivity to the needs of all of the people New York’s Finest serve and protect.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I understand that some form of punishment be instituted. However if something happens to this officer in the other “bad” neighborhood, would not Councilman Greenfield have blood on his hands? I don’t know if I would gloat.

  2. sheldon
    that makes no sense, so every officer in a bad neighborhood that gets hurt, the NYPD has blood on their hands??
    someone has to be there!

  3. Answer to Moule in Comment # 4:

    Being arrested, Chas V’Shalom, could very well be outright dangerous for a person. He will very likely be placed among severely wicked dangereous people who may try to harm him even fatally. Furthermore, many of these terrible people carry terrible diseases. Being around such people, or even just having to sit in the same seats in the police car where they sat, or having to stay in the same tiny jail cells where they stayed, could cause a person to, Chas V’Shalom, pick up some of those dangerous diseases.

    Also, as the man in the story indicated, the severe emotional trauma that his wife and children would have of not knowing where he was or/and of afterwards finding out that he had been arrested, could well be severly harmful to them.

  4. We must mentally think it through what we need to do or say if we get into such a predicament and are asked to do a melacha on Shabbos by the authorities. The Yid in the story above got frightened by the cop and committed hillul Shabbos. What’s the worst that could have happened, had he refused? The cop may have been rough with him, force him into his car and drive him to the police station and keep him over Shabbos. The Yid’s family would have not known where their husband/father disappeared, would have contacted Shomrim (how, by telephone which maybe for them it would have been permissible as chashash pikuach nefesh) who would have contacted the police probably also by telephone. I think it’s a timely and valid shailah to ask a Rov.

    I hardly ever post, but you sheldon have moved me to put in my 2 cents. I am often amazed by the stupidity of many of the posts on these sights, but really sheldon- you get the prize. First you ask if there’s a way to carry a form of ID, I’m amazed that you dont see that the officer was obviously an anti semite that was only looking to make life dificult for Shalom. Did you not read the article? He was the first in that precinct to receive a j-walking summons of the year! Then You write that Greenfield would have blood on his hands if something happened? Whats wrong with you?

    I would like to thank you for providing me with an outlet to let out some hot air, but I hope that not even the most insignificant issue ever comes before you to be decided upon, you can only do harm.

    Refuah Sheleima

  6. #4 – he was under threat of arrest. Being arrested is a Safek Sakana, because a person can be attacked by someone violent, or by someone who is HIV positive. So, he had no real choice but to comply.

    #3 – The officer in this case should be permanently dismissed from the NYC police force for his inexcusable behavior. If he is afraid of being assigned to a bad precinct, now is his chance to resign.

  7. To Moule:

    Thank you, that is my question. No one can force someone to be mechalel Shabbos except for pikuach nefesh. I asked my rav if the person was allowed to be mechallel Shabbos over the threat of arrest. His answer was only if his life was in danger would he be allowed to be mechallel Shabbos.

  8. To # 3 Sheldon: It’s not about gloating. It’s about not appreciating your situation. This cop was stationed in one of the most quite and police friendly neighborhoods. Apparently, he wasn’t happy. He was looking for actions, to bring about his policemen skills to fruition. So, it’s a win-win: he’ll be satisfied, society as well and crime rate will plunge… What a Chap of a solution.

  9. Unless someone posting here is thoroughly versed in hilchos shabbos, and is a posek.
    OR unless someone contacted a posek.


    Certainly there are serious factors on both sides, but if you don’t KNOW the halacha(as in presenting a source, not just what appeals to your ignorant mind) DON’T SAY ANYTHING

  10. #14 – Definite Sakana is not necessary to permit Chillul Shabbos. Hatzala routinely responds to calls where the person needs immediate medical attention only out of abundance of caution.

    Being put in jail with dangerous criminals is a Safek Sakana and Chillul Shabbos would be permissible to prevent it.

  11. #16 – if we shouldn’t complain about a Frum Jew being forced to be Mechallel Shabbos, what, in your opinion, would justify complaining?


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