Shomrim Moves To Make Security Camera Footage Secret
The head of Borough Park's haredi street patrol wants to keep footage from government funded security cameras away from police to prevent police from arresting haredi domestic abusers, a new report claims.
Borough Park's Shomrim Want To Block Police From Seeing Security Camera Footage
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Borough Park’s Shomrim Patrol does not want police to have access to security camera footage gathered under the Leiby Kletzky memorial program, the Forward reports.
The program, funded by a million dollar grant from the state, is supposed to place security cameras throughout the neighborhood.
But more than one year after 8-year-old Kletzky’s grizzly murder and months after the grant was announced, only one camera has been installed and there is no public accounting of where the money has gone.
State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who secured the grant, refuses to give that accounting. His most recent statement regarding the cameras came months ago, when he denied that Agudath Israel of America, the haredi umbrella organization that orders Jews not to report suspected crimes like child sexual abuse directly to police or ACS, would have any role other than administrating the grant money.
Hikind made that claim after the Brooklyn Daily reported that Agudah had been given the entire $1 million.
Hikind also claimed that there would be a professional security company which would monitor footage, and that police would have complete open access to that footage in real time, 24/7.
But now it appears that Borough Park’s rabbis, who act as Shomrim’s guides, have blocked that from happening, stalling camera installation in the process.
Borough Park Shomrim’s head, Jacob Daskal, has reportedly now said that the centralized system of cameras with full immediate police access would allow police to make domestic violence arrests, something Shomrim – and therefore the neighborhood’s haredi rabbis – oppose.
“The camera is very good for the community, but [only] if it’s a private thing [kept within the community]. If it’s a public thing it might hurt a person who doesn’t want to arrest her husband for domestic violence,” Daskal told the paper.
Shomrim allegedly withheld security camera footage from police during the search for Kletzky, preferring to screen it themselves – sometimes several times – before deciding whether to allow police to see it, sources told Failedmessiah.com and other news media at the time of the search. However, none would agree to have their names published for fear of retribution and many would not identify themselves even on a private, off the record basis.
Shomrim waited almost three hours after being notified of Kletzky’s disappearance before it notified police – a delay that, despite official claims to the contrary, almost certainly hurt the police search for the 8-year-old.
Neighbors claimed that they had made previous complaints to Shomrim about Levi Aron, Kletzky’s killer. One complaint involved an attempted child abduction. The most recent complaint had allegedly been made just weeks before Kletzky was kidnapped and dismembered.
Daskal admitted to a NY Daily News reporter that his organization kept a private list of suspected child molesters and sex offenders, but later denied he had made that admission or that such a list ever existed.
But his desire to keep security camera footage away from police, and to have it screened by Shomrim, not by an outside security firm, may indicate that Daskal’s organization did keep such a list.
The break that almost led to the capture of Aron and the recovery of Kletzky’s dismembered body came from security camera footage discovered by Yanky German. German, a lontime critic of Shomrim, found the footage on his own by disregarding Shomrim’s search plan and instructions.
When FailedMessiah.com first reported that Kletzy was dead and that his murderer, Levi Aron, was captured – the first published report to name the murderer and among the first two or three to report the murder and the capture of the muderer – we also reported that Aron was a known pedophile.
Aron had no police record of sex crimes, however, and polce insisted that no evidence of a sexual nature had been found on the remains.
But police did not address whether that alleged lack of evidence was the result of the degraded condition of the remains or of how the remains may have been treated by Aron.
Sources close to the case have long felt the case will never come to trial, because the discovery process would reveal damaging information about the search for the young boy and its aftermath the police, the medical examiner and Shomrim do not want revealed.
Late last month, Aron agreed to plead guilty in September in exchange for a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.
The plea deal had allegedly been encouraged by Leiby Kletzky’s family.
The family, which was poor, has been given a new, larger home by the haredi community. Leiby’s father was also given money to purchase a Borough Park kosher butcher shop.
Shortly after the murder, the family started a foundation to memorialize their son. In a statement issued on July 20, 2012, Leiby’s father wrote that the fund would “would help anguished families in crisis and need.”
"Had my dear son Leiby lived he would have contributed so much good to the world. He was such a sensitive and kind soul. Now that his beautiful life was cut so short we should not allow the world to miss out. Our family wishes to establish the LEIBY KLETZKY MEMORIAL FUND to perpetuate the memory of our dear Leiby and to keep him alive in our hearts and minds. This fund would help anguished families in crisis and need, something that Leiby would have wanted to do had he been given more years of life,” Nachman Kletzky’s statement said.
But it appears the money may have been used to subsidize summer camps for haredi children and for kiruv, missionary, purposes:
LEIBY KLETZKY MEMORIAL SAFE SUMMER CAMP FUND FOR CHILDREN
Providing Children At Risk With A Safe Summer Camp Experience To Last A Lifetime!
Help the Leiby Kletzky Safe Camp Fund raise an additional $150,000 right now!
Our objective is to send troubled children, in danger and at risk, who are coming mostly from insecure homes, to a safe Summer Camp for a unique experience to last a lifetime!
To many children at risk, a summer among warm & compassionate friends is not freedom from homework and tests. It is freedom from abuse, isolation, and neglect!
Your gift will provide children struggling year round with an abusive environment with a summer filled with with the care, affection, and simple fun of living that they miss all year but are so desperate for. It will be more than merely a breath of fresh air, it will be pure oxygen for their bodies and souls!
The benefits of a summer like this lasts for a lifetime! Your gift can save the lives and futures of countless of our youth!
Thank you for your generous caring!
In the haredi community, "at risk" children are children who are at risk of leaving the haredi community or children who are Jewish but who are not currently part of the haredi community.
A haredi kiruv, missionary, group, Kars-4-Kids, has been sued by several states because of deceptive fundraising that uses the term "at risk" to imply true non-denominational distribution of raised funds when in truth it gives more than 90% of its money to Oorah, a haredi missionary organization it controls. Kars-4-Kids settled the suits out of court.
The Kletzky fund has not yet given an accounting of the money it raised.
The fund's legal name is KHAL B LEV ECHOD (KBE). Khal Blev Echod, LLC has been in existence for seven years and is a for profit company. A nonprofit called Khal B Lev Echod was also started seven years ago. It is headed by Rabbi Binyomin Eisenberger, the family’s rabbi. No IRS filings are available for the nonprofit.
A call to the number listed on the fund's website was routed to voicemail, and an email sent late Wednesday afternoon to the email address listed on the site seeking an accounting of funds raised and disbursed has not yet been returned.