Cellphone video shows a Passaic police officer threatening a West New York rabbi with arrest if he posts a video of him taking the rabbi’s mother into custody.
“Passaic Police Officer Nieves, who arrested my mother, illegally threatens to arrest me if I share the video of his disgusting behavior on Facebook,” wrote Dovid B. Kaplan, the director of Hatzolah EMS of North Jersey, in a Facebook posting of the video.
"If I see this on Facebook and all that...I'm gonna charge you,” the officer is heard on the video ( above ). “You're not allowed to record my image."
Kaplan, who founded the local branch of the international volunteer Orthodox ambulance corps, said his mother was charged with obstruction when she confronted police as two legally-parked Hatzolah rigs were being towed Thursday from Reid Avenue.
Passaic Mayor Hector Carlos Lora warned everyone not to jump to conclusions.
“Everyone has the right to witness interactions,” Lora said, “but in no way should you obstruct the police in carrying out their duties.
“Anything can happen in a split second if an officer’s vision is obstructed,” the mayor said. “I can’t say this situation was a dangerous one, but there have been incidents where a distraction has resulted in injury or the death of a police officer.”
Lora said he was planning to speak with Police Chief Luis Guzman “to be sure that we have all of the information.”
“Social media often does not always tell the whole story,” he said. “My expectation is that our officers conducted themselves accordingly with the oath that they have taken to serve the city to the best of their ability.
Kaplan has clashed with city police over parking in the past.
He claims he’s been harassed because of conflicts with another rabbi.
Kaplan said the street outside his parents’ home where he parks the ambulances around the corner from Hatzolah headquarters is a quiet dead end that “never receives street cleaning and has never had alternate side parking.”
City DPW workers placed alternate-day parking signs last month, he said.
Those signs prohibit parking for a two-hour period on Wednesdays, he said.
The incident occurred on Thursday.
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