Greenpoint resident Chrissie Brodigan says she was riding on the L train between Bedford and First Avenue when her pug, who has health problems, overheated and began vomiting in the tote bag she was carrying him in. As she was leaving the subway station with the dog in her arms, she says a police officer's attempt to issue her a ticket turned ugly, and when she became upset the cop began saying, "If you're going to act like a woman I'm going to treat you like a woman." [We've updated with photos of Brodigan's arrest. July 1 update: A new post with details about another witness's account is here. ]
According to Brodigan, the arresting officer's name is Witriol (badge number 942838). After seeing a photo, she identified him to us as Joel Witriol, who in 2006 became New York's first Hasidic cop. Brodigan, 32, says Witriol would not accept her explanation that she was carrying the pug because it was sick, and she believes that the disturbed crowd that gathered to witness the arrest only made him angrier. She tells us, "He punched me in the back (there are bruises), he handcuffed me, and in the scuffle grabbed my breasts and pinched them."
Melissa Randazzo, a speech language pathologist who lives in Williamsburg, witnessed the arrest and tells us, "something about it seemed very wrong. The cop's tone seemed really inappropriate and he kept saying things like, 'Are you going to act like a woman?' She tried to walk away, and then he grabbed her and pushed her against the wall outside the turnstile." Randazzo ran up to the street level to call 911 to, as she says, "call the cops" on Witriol, and soon some 20 officers had descended into the Bedford station. They then ordered the witnesses to disperse. Brodigan describes what happened after she was arrested:
They took my pug and he told me he was taking him to the pound where he would be "put down." I was taken to the J stop headquarters. I wasn't allowed to call a lawyer and I was put in a cell with handcuffs on with two other women who spit on me and hit me in the head, because they weren't in handcuffs and I was crying so much it bothered them. I was given 3 tickets: failure to produce ID, disorderly conduct, and failure to have dog in a container. I have a court date in August. I asked for a pen to write the badge numbers down before I left and they refused to give me a pen and covered up their badges. My pug was returned. They had him behind their desks and were playing with him."
The NYPD press office declined to verify any information about the arrest; the spokesman told us that because these are misdemeanor charges, they "usually don't hear anything about that." Brodigan adds that, "So many people saw what happened that I just would really like for everyone to submit complaints, because this man shouldn't be able to do this to women—to anyone."