A bystander who witnessed the arrest Monday of a woman carrying her sick pug in the subway says the dog owner made anti-Semitic remarks toward the arresting officer, who happens to be the city's first Hasidic cop. Yesterday the pug-owner, Chrissie Brodigan, told us (and a second witness corroborated) that when she became upset during the incident, Officer Joel Witriol said, "If you're going to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman."
She says that as Witriol arrested her, "He punched me in the back (there are bruises), he handcuffed me, and in the scuffle grabbed my breasts and pinched them." And Jason Wagner, another passer-by who took these photos, tells us Witriol said, "Do you wanna talk like a woman? Do you wanna get knocked around like a woman?"
But witness Viane Delgado tells the Post that Witriol "repeatedly" asked Brodigan to place the pug "in a carrier she had." (Brodigan says she'd been carrying the dog in a tote bag, but it had vomited in there, which is why she was carrying it out of the station.) Delgado goes on to insist that during the argument, Brodigan told the cop, "You f---ing Jew, you're not even human." And an unidentified source tells the Post that Brodigan also exclaimed, "Jewish people think they own everything."
It's impressive that the Post tracked down a witness and "a source" so quickly, since they emailed us at 5:10 p.m. to request information, twenty minutes after we published the story yesterday. (Perhaps the NYPD put them in touch with Delgado?) Regardless, witness Melissa Randazzo tells us, "That absolutely did not happen. I did not hear any comments like that at all." We asked Brodigan via email to confirm or deny the allegations of anti-Semitism, and her full response is below:
I think that this event is going to some very dark places that I don't have experience with. I don't recall making the remarks that the witness is referring to. I was definitely not my most graceful self and was crying and begging for help from the witnesses who were there. After being roughed up and being told, "If you want to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman," I was at my least articulate. I'm pretty sure I uttered a few profanities, I'm also pretty sure I begged for the ticket, my dog, and to be released to go home. Witnesses called the police for help because it was such a crazy situation.
I was contacted by about a dozen people yesterday through Facebook who offered to testify. I'm not sure what to do at this point. It's a lot of drama for a pug.
I definitely called him an asshole, but I wasn't the one with any power in the situation. I know I called him an asshole, a bad cop, a traffic cop, and said what he was doing was inhumane. I don't believe you can uphold the law if you don't believe women have equal rights. When an officer of the law threatens, beats, and oppresses a woman on the basis that she's acting like a woman—that's the problem. An utterance of profanity seems normal—at that point all a person has left is her voice. I was begging for help and not using the moment as a platform for antisemitism.
What do you think, person who wasn't there?