A Greenpoint woman's altercation with a police officer over carrying her sick dog through the subway has put her out of a job. To recap: Chrissie Brodigan, a VP for Online Media at Plum TV, says that after she argued with Officer Joel Witriol while trying to carry her pug out of the subway, he arrested her, grabbed her breasts, and punched her in the back while saying, "If you're going to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman." Other witnesses corroborated Brodigan's account, but one witness and an unidentified source told the Post that Brodigan yelled at Witriol, the city's first Hasidic officer, "You f---ing Jew, you're not even human. Jewish people think they own everything."
Brodigan initially said that although she yelled at Witriol, she "did not recall" saying anything anti-Semitic. (The following day she e-mailed us to firmly deny saying anything anti-Semitic or about Witriol's Jewish identity. Other witnesses backed her up.) But it seems that her initial Reaganesque denial is what cost her her job; she tells us today:
I was terminated for "equivocating" in the press. My boss [Chris Glowacki] is threatening to not offer an agreeable severance package, including health insurance, which is crucial because i have cystic fibrosis and he is aware. He's angry that this is out in the press. I think he made a judgment based on perceived bigotry.
UPDATE: A publicist for Plum TV writes: "Chrissie Brodigan is no longer employed by Plum. Her employment was terminated for valid reasons, unrelated to the determination of whether or not she made the objectionable statements as alleged in the press. We will have no further comment." Post reporter Reuven Blau has not responded to our inquires about the article; according to his Post colleague Reuven Fenton, Blau is the one who "found" the mysterious witness Viane Delgado in the narrow window of time between when we broke the full story and when the Post print edition went to bed.
No other media outlet has quoted Viane Delgado, and we're still trying to obtain a copy of the police report to see if Delgado was quoted there. (Though an NYPD spokesman's comment that the anti-Semitic charge "sounds like something you're reading in other papers" leads us to suspect there is nothing about that in the police report.) Of course, Blau is under no obligation to elaborate on his witness or "source" or even return our phone calls, but a source tells us the Post is full of shit. (Our source also tells us that dogs bite men.) Below, Chrissie's long open letter to the media about her termination.
An Open Letter: How I Got Slandered By the New York Post & NYPD
"On Monday, June 30, I was wrongfully arrested and physically abused by the NYPD. The arresting officer who manhandled happens to have been the first Hasidic cop on a force of more than 30,000.
In the days that followed the incident, which became well-publicized, because bystanders photographed the arrest and called the "police" on account of the improper behavior of the arresting officer, and because I had the courage to defend my rights and resisted abuse with the support of these witnesses, the situation has become an unimaginable nightmare for me.
I have been falsely accused of being a bigot by the New York Post in an act of the most irresponsible journalism I have ever experienced, and now I have been fired from a job I loved and was great at on account of these vicious accusations and my alleged failure to respond "vigorously enough" to them.
Here is what happened:
Two days after my arrest the New York Post came out with a vicious article in which anti-Semitic remarks were attributed to me by an alleged witness.
Either the Post fabricated the existence of this witness, who despite an exerted effort by both journalists at Gothamist and myself has never been located, or they fabricated her remarks.
There were witnesses at the scene and these witnesses did not hear me make any anti-Semitic remarks and specifically did not recall the existence of the Post's alleged witness. I do not believe that this witness was at the scene nor did any witness hear me make antisemitic remarks.
The truth is that smearing the victim is a classic police technique to cover up abuse and protect the arresting officer.
I am not a bigot, and accusations of bigotry are so absurd that I did not think it even necessary to respond to them.
My "suspension" and now my firing requires that I make things clear to the public.
During the course of my arrest, I did not:
- Utter the words "Jewish" or "Jew."
- I did not say, "You Jews think you own the world."
- I did not use the phrase "You fucking Jews . . . "
- I did not say anything that any person, reasonable or not, could have interpreted to mean any reference whatsoever to the obvious religion of the cop who was manhandling me.
These anti-Semitic comments printed by the New York Post never crossed my lips on the day I was wrongfully arrested and physically abused. And, to be even more succinct, those words and statements have NEVER crossed my lips on any other day in my life. EVER.
I believe that ultimately the evidence will come out that the police were involved in the Post's smear job of me, which was an effort to cover up police misconduct.
Under these circumstances it is important that you know who I am:
My academic background at George Mason University involved an undergraduate degree in English with a minor in African American studies that culminated in an honors thesis about the civil rights movement. My graduate studies and masters degrees, I focused my coursework on the history of immigrants, gay, lesbian, black, hispanic, disabled and other oppressed people. My masters thesis and subsequent doctoral dissertation focused on gender discrimination and women's rights in the workplace. Indeed, I note that my principal doctoral advisors were all Jewish.
I have devoted my adult life to studying and supporting the civil rights of minorities.
To smear me as an anti-Semite is both cowardly and a disgrace and victimizes me once again. I expected more from a community to whom I have devoted my best efforts."