Volume 75, Number 16 | September 07 - 13, 2005

Villager photos by Clayton Patterson

Above, Heshie Jacob, at right, looking at camera, Morris Faitelewicz, far left, and others converge at the Seventh Precinct on Pitt St., after Shalom Jacob was arrested on Aug. 29. Above right, Shalom Jacob, in rear seat, as he leaves the precinct, ducks out of view of a photographer.

Grand St. manager’s son arrested in E.M.S. ruckus

By Albert Amateau

When Shalom Jacob, 37, a supervisor with Hatzolah, the Jewish volunteer ambulance service on the Lower East Side, was arrested on the evening of Aug. 29 for trying to force his way passed an Emergency Medical Service team into a Grand St. apartment to help an elderly distressed woman, it was the beginning of a high-profile brouhaha that echoed for a week.

Jacob, the son of Heshie Jacob, manager of the East River and Hillman co-ops on Grand St. and longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was brought in handcuffs to the Seventh Precinct, and before he left about three hours later, his father, Silver and a crowd of Jacob’s Grand St. supporters had gathered at the Pitt St. police station demanding his release. Deputy Chief Brian Conroy of Manhattan South Borough Command also came to the precinct in response to the incident.

It wasn’t until the following day that police served Shalom Jacob with a desk-appearance ticket for disorderly conduct.

Silver said later that he had suggested the summons be written and held at the precinct until a Wed. Aug. 31 meeting with police, Hatzolah and the Jacob father and son. However, the Wednesday meeting was cancelled. The speaker told reporters that he had not suggested that no violation at all should be issued.

But on Tuesday, Seventh Precinct members of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — the police union — protested that Shalom Jacob had been released without a charge and that, when finally issued, the charge had been downgraded from obstructing government administration.

“Does this mean that anytime officers of the Seventh Precinct have to take enforcement action against anyone dressed in Hasidic clothes they are going to be overly scrutinized?” said Officer Aaron Jackson, the P.B.A. delegate at the Seventh Precinct. “They should be able to enforce the law impartially, not one way against some people and another way for everyone else.”

But Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s deputy chief for public information, said on Thursday, “Nothing was downgraded or voided. Police officers are expected to enforce the law impartially and they are supported by the Police Department in doing so.”

The incident started when the E.M.S. team arrived about 7:30 p.m. at a ninth-floor apartment at 575 Grand St. in the East River Houses to assist a 96-year-old disturbed woman. The volunteer Hatzolah ambulance turned up later, and although the Hatzolah attendants were told they were not needed, they refused to leave.

Meanwhile, Shalom Jacob, who also lives at 575 Grand St., arrived at the apartment and insisted that the Hatzolah volunteers should treat the distressed woman. Police said he put his foot in the door and tried to push past the E.M.S. team and police who accompanied them. “At the time of the incident, he was not wearing a uniform or displaying any ID,” a police spokesperson said.
Heshie Jacob also appeared at the apartment door and insisted the Hatzolah volunteers should treat the woman. But a police lieutenant told him he too would be arrested if he did not leave the floor.

The elder Jacob then went to the Pitt St. station, along with a group of Grand St. neighbors including Morris Faitelewicz, a Community Board 3 vice chairperson and citywide coordinator/deputy inspector of the Police Department’s Auxiliary Police Support Emergency Services Rescue Unit.

Officers who declined to be identified said that instead of being held in a cell at the precinct, Shalom Jacob was held in a room usually reserved for juvenile suspects, with people constantly going in and out.

Silver, who also lives on Grand St., turned up at 10 p.m. on Aug. 29. He characterized his role as a mediator of a jurisdictional dispute between E.M.S. and Hatzolah.

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