Though some bloggers have shrugged off Monday's allegedly rough arrest of a woman who was carrying her pug through the subway as "breathtakingly minor," the incident's certainly major enough to have gotten the attention of New York's top cop. Or, at least a reporter was able to ask NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly whether officer Joel Witriol used excessive force and made sexist remarks while arresting Chrissie Brodigan, who was trying to carry her sick pug out of the subway station.
Brodigan says Witriol told her, "'If you're going to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman.' He punched me in the back (there are bruises)... and grabbed my breasts and pinched them." But Kelly tells WABC, "There's no indication of that. And if the complainant says she was, and that will be investigated by the civilian complaint review board."
Witriol, photographed here by a reader who spotted him at Broadway Junction Tuesday, has not commented publicly on the incident. Nor has any other media outlet besides the NY Post quoted a witness, identified only as Viane Delgado, who claims Brodigan shouted, "You f---ing Jew, you're not even human," at Witriol, who is the city's first Hasidic officer. Another witness, Jason Wagner, claims that he was with Brodigan throughout almost the entire incident, and insists, "I did not hear her say anything about him being Jewish." Brodigan, who says she was having a panic attack during the arrest, denies using any anti-Semitic slurs, though she concedes she argued heatedly with Witriol and used vulgarities.
We have not (yet) been able to raise Viane Delgado. Just for argument's sake, let's review the time line. At 4:42 p.m. on Monday, we broke the full story, "Woman Says Misogynistic Cop Arrested Her, Punched Her, Grabbed Breasts for Carrying Pug in Subway." At 5:10 p.m., the Post emailed us for help contacting Brodigan. And some time before the Post's print edition went to bed, their reporters were able to track down a witness and a second "source," who effectively took the heat off the NYPD and flipped the incendiary story 180 degrees, turning Brodigan into the tabloid villain. And no one ever hears from Viane Delgado again?
Were Post reporters able to canvass the Bedford Avenue subway station for witnesses—the same witnesses cops had ordered to disperse on Monday? It seems more plausible that Delgado's statement was taken from the police report and leaked to the Post. Which, considering cops' previously-cited inclination to straight-up lie on police reports, might very well have been fabricated to deflect the provocative allegations.
An NYPD spokesman, Kevin Cavitolo, tells us the department is conducting an investigation into Brodigan's allegation of excessive force. He refused to elaborate on any witness statements contained in the police report, but when asked if any witnesses had reported hearing anti-Semitic remarks, Cavitolo said, "That sounds like something you're reading in other papers." Screw it, we're filing a Freedom of Information Act request to see this police report. In the meantime, Viane, if you're out there, we're urging you to come forward!