Police Probe Says No Evidence Of Bias When Rabbi Was Stopped And Arrested At Gunpoint [DASHCAM VIDEO]

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A Vermont state police trooper who pursued and pulled over a speeding New York City rabbi and ordered him at gunpoint to lie on the ground and then with other police handcuffed the rabbi’s family has been cleared of wrongdoing.

State police and the Department of Public Safety commissioner performed an investigation of the nighttime traffic stop and found “there was no evidence from the investigation to suggest his actions were based on any type of bias or profiling,” according to a statement they issued Friday.

Trooper Justin Thompson clocked a vehicle behind him going at 83 mph (134 kph) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone on Interstate 91 in Thetford on Aug. 8, the investigation said. Thompson pulled over and put on his lights. Once the vehicle passed he tried to pull it over with his lights and siren, but the driver failed to stop for 4.5 miles.

After the car pulled over, police dashboard video released Friday shows, the trooper shouted from his cruiser for driver Berl Fink to get out and walk backward with his hands up. The trooper, who was holding a gun, ordered Fink to lie on the ground.

Thompson decided to initiate a “high-risk motor vehicle stop” because he was in a rural area late at night with no immediate backup nearby, the vehicle had failed to stop, the occupants’ actions were suspicious and the vehicle had been speeding, the investigation said.

In such a stop, officers are trained to order the driver and passengers out of the vehicle and to have their guns drawn, the statement said.

During the stop, a passenger, Fink’s son, tried to get out of the vehicle, and Thompson ordered him to stay inside. Once backup police arrived, Fink’s son was ordered out of the vehicle and was told to walk backward but failed to do so and walked to a guardrail. He was pushed against the car and was handcuffed.

Two other passengers, Fink’s wife, Sarah Fink, and another child, also were handcuffed.

Sarah Fink told the New York Post the ordeal was “traumatizing.”

“I tell you, there was brutality,” she said. “He was pointing guns.”

Berl Fink told the trooper he didn’t realize he was speeding. He said once he suspected he was being pulled over he was looking for a safe place to pull off the interstate.

Fink, who’s from Brooklyn, was cited for attempting to elude police. He’s scheduled for a court appearance on Oct. 18.

(AP)


28 COMMENTS

  1. Every Jew is my brother and it is therefore horrific to watch this. But I still can’t help but wonder why we didn’t get the other half of the story to begin with. 4.5 miles and not pulling over? I thought originally that it was antisemitism, but now I’m having my doubts. Either way, I hope they got over the trauma and I hope it ends well for them.

  2. The gact that he didn’t stop for so long, is not good. But aren’t officers trained to figure out the difference between a normal family who made have made a poor judgment and a hardened criminal? I would think the police are more trained and more humane. This does not seem like normal policing! Definitely most traumatizing!

  3. At first it seems aggressive but this is how they react when someone does not stop immediately especially in a dangerous circumstance such as a freeway at night. They do not know how a person will react no matter what religion or skin tone they are. It seemed they were very friendly cops and even let him go without taking him down to the station. Do not forget the police fear their own lives and rightfully so as they face many dangerous people and situations. It seemed they treated and spoke to him with a lot of respect and maybe BECAUSE of the fact that he is a Jew and not the other way around. B”H it turned out well. Also his explanation is pretty believable about wanting to stop at a safe point, I mean I dont think it crossed his mind that he would be able to outrun them and any of their backup.

  4. Good policing should have dictated that these are outstanding people and perhaps a simple traffic violation issued and that’s it! The officer could have run a profile check on the driver and seen that he has a clean impeccable record. Why not after the conversation could he have toned down the rhetoric and simply released him? Why was arrest necessary! This doesn’t seem like professional policing and the footage shows that too. He wasn’t dealing with a thug!
    Also, his family didn’t have to be treated like criminals once it was ascertained that they were okay!
    Poor policing at best. Anti-Semitism a fair posibility!

  5. they were lucky not to be arrested and thrown in jail. It’s true the policeman could have been a little more understanding and cut them loose with just a speeding ticket. I hope he learned his lesson not to speed and….
    LESSON #1: ALWAYS STOP IMMEDIATELY AND DO EXACTLY WHAT THE POLICE SAY TO DO!!

  6. next time turn on your right blinker to indicate that you desire to pull over and ALWAYS do what the police say even if you are convinced that they are wrong…

  7. Very hard to understand how someone did not pull over for over 4 minutes! Look for a safe spot to pull over but don’t expect anything less than such treatment when taking an officer on such a ride.

  8. They’re speeding
    They’re not stopping
    They’re not following directions
    This is not police brutality
    These are people that are not following the law

  9. He deserves it.. listen to him rationalize why he didn’t stop
    Don’t make excuses. When the cops ask you to get over, you Get over.. simple as that

  10. Maybe they’d consider erasing the clip. He’d probably be mortified to know his personal info and every other detail of that traumatic incident is broadcast for full public viewing. (in a heading in the main page of YW!!)

    (Yes, I know it’s on another site. I thought this one is different….)

  11. What does he mean “once he suspected he was being pulled over”? The sirens were blazing and the lights flashing. The dashcam shows quite clearly what happened. There was no suspicion; he was being pulled over for speeding. The police acted with quite proper restraint., as the dashcam shows. The hero’s son also disobeyed police instructions. And no Mrs Hero, the police were not brutal in any way. Sarah Fink should not have told the New York Post the ordeal was “traumatizing”, she should have told her husband to pull over when the police told him to. If you listen to the questioning when asked if he had been stopped by the police before, he said about seven years ago. When the trooper asked him how it turned out, did you pull over, Fink starts saying they always … is “always” a loshon of being stopped once? The police questioning was very correct and to the point. When in the dashcam video were the women handcuffed? At what point is it? Unfortunately the Finks seem to suffer from the “asher bachar banu” syndrome. As 1818 says “These are people that are not following the law”. They were treated very respectfully.

  12. To be fair.
    Rabbi fink has a valid point, If you pay close attention, while rabbi fink is being questioned why he did not pull over at first, He makes his argument that he saw the lights flashing {EVEN BEFORE HE CHANGED BACK TO THE RIGHT LANE}
    Which is a very important factor, For a driver it can truly be very confusing at the first few moments, And to be honest the Trooper didn’t fallow his proper training either (ONLY FROM THE BEGINNING) Because he is required to put on his lights only after a 2-3 hundred feet of tailgating, to inform a driver that he means directly him.

    (Note) Rabbi fink is not a 2 year old, he is a highly respected figure in our community, its unfortunate what happened,
    The truth of the matter is that thank goodness by us אחינו בני ישראל its not a often scene to watch such horrific episode.

    Rabbi fink can even (Bantch Gomel,} Because all you need to do is Google police car chase, and you will totally understand how things sometimes end,

  13. I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing something. After reading the majority of comments, both here and on another site, I feel like vomiting. Jewish?!? Rachmanim? Where is this Yiddishe feeling of “Mit-gefeel”. Feeling with, sharing another Yid’s pain, empathy, compassion… Hey it’s a mere day after Yom Kippur… Such a RUSH to judge, besmirch, condone, bad-mouth… (see what another site has… scratch that – DON’T SEE) If you feel with – write so, if you have something bad … “halt dich ein” – there’s a GREAT JUDGE up there, just watching how we react to another…

    Me myself? I was utterly traumatized, extremely disturbed watching that clip. Having such a chashuva Yid (and yes, I know who it is) so utterly disgraced, ruffed-up, traumatized…No – I can’t fathom the deep and intense pain, anguish, suffering he and family must have gone through. But I can certainly feel, share some. And yes, OUCH! A big one. “Mitgefeel”. It’s a something I inherited from Great-Great Grandpa Avraham. It’s not my fault.

    Right or wrong… it hurts.. ‘cause he’s my brother…

    And for all you just, upright, police loving citizens… if a cop cannot act on his own intuition, once face-to-face with his clients, I suggest he be fired. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this Choshuva man was not public enemy #1. If he cannot tell between friend and foe, he has no business being in that business.

  14. In the UK this would not have happened. The police car woud have overtaken the car at the first opportunity. He would have then sowehow motioned to him to stop. Some motorway cars have a LED digital which can say things like stop police or follow me. There would have been no confusion. If I would have been driving in front of a flashing police in that manner I am not sure I would have stopped. It could have been an emegency vehicle,it is not clear. Unfortunately in US there is a fear by the police of attack . I was once stopped for doing 32mph in Deal NJ in a 25 zone. The police were also very careful, dont move out of your car etc etc. That was daytime. That sort of stuff does not happen in UK.

  15. Thanks to the current social/political climate, there have been numerous attacks on police officers lately, including at traffic stops. You can’t blame them for being overly cautious.

  16. I very rarely watch long videos but I did watch this whole video. The most the cops can be accused of is an initial overreaction, and minimal, if any brutality. And certainly NOT anti semitism. They reacted that way before they knew who was in the car. Once they saw they were not dealing with a dangerous situation, they calmed down and were cordial, respectful and not in the least bit aggressive. I’m sure the people in the car felt differently since they were probably traumatized, but any outsider watching it can tell this.

  17. JFP: You wrote “Because he is required to put on his lights only after a 2-3 hundred feet of tailgating, to inform a driver that he means directly him.” Please state where in Vermont law that is the proper procedure.

    etzhar: How the police in the UK stop a vehicle is not relative here. This is common practice in the US.

    In today’s day and age, anybody can dress up like a frum yid while in reality they may be a terrorist.

  18. As soon as they realized that they are dealing with good law abiding citizens, they should’ve issued a speeding ticket and let it go. Let’s call a spade a spade. The Rabbi is right; all this pullimg over business with traffic back ups that it causes and lane switching that it requires, very often causes more of a hazard for drivers than the speeding.

  19. chjewess
    VERY WELL SAID !!!
    How dare he file a complain against the police officer that right after he realize he poses no threats cut him loose without taken him to jail
    I’m just wondering which boroparker “friend” gave him the idea to file such a false complain and causing him to make such a big Chillul Hashem going about it to the media
    Not even 1 second of the clip pointing out to any even slightly Antisemitism from the police officer, if any exactly the opposite

    what a shame !!

  20. And I agree with Little Froggie, they should have realized within 30 seconds who they are dealing with. Anyone with a little intuition could’ve figured it out with half their brain tied behind their back. Shame on these cops.

  21. To (lowerourtuition11210)

    Its not a law, Its common practice from any highway patrol officer..
    With out getting in to details.. (No I’m not a liaison) 🙂 I asked a few who work In this field, and they told me the same thing,
    # 1 they usually tailgate 2-3 hundred feet,(sometimes even a mile.) And the main reason why they do it, is because a % of the time a driver gets lost, and they just short stop. #2 they try to find a safe place where the driver and the officer is safe,
    My point what I was trying to make, is you need to understand how rabbi Fink felt from the beginning, And how things unfortunately escalated.
    #1 At first he didn’t know that the trooper meant him, #2 since he is from NY, He is not use to the narrow HYW in Vermont, which made him continue driving to try to find a safe spot. (Palisades Parkway has bigger shoulders. because it has wider grass) And for a driver who is not familiar with the area its totally understandable why he didn’t pull over at first. {I will challenge the readers to speed 65MPH, And all of sudden for any reason, you need to pull over at the side of any Road,} (WITH NO COP BEHIND YOU}. And lets find out how long it took you to pull over so you felt safe) you might say huh but if the officer pulled you then you guess its safe, Well google how many officers (and drivers) got hit with a pull over.