It’s like a story out of a 1960’s mob film. Corrupt city inspectors arriving in an area to bully and intimidate by threatening heavy fines for make-believe infractions. The worst part is, it appears to be city-sanctioned.
A viral video from Yeshivas Shaarei Torah on Coney Island Ave exposed what is appearing more and more like targeted and unwarranted bullying on behalf of the city.
On Monday, the administrator of Shaarei Torah noticed a pair of inspectors writing the school a summons for being open, despite the fact that the school was empty except for a few staff members. The administrator confronted them, filming as he walked them around the school and pressed them for a reason for the summons. The answer given, “we have a list.”
The video quickly garnered a slew of high-profile condemnations.
New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch Tweeted “In the words of the inspector: they have a list of schools to issue summonses. They made ZERO attempt to confirm if the school was closed before writing the summons. (It WAS closed). This keeps happening-it’s not an isolated incident. Orthodox Jews continue to be targeted in NY.”
The video made its rounds as far as US President Donald Trump, who retweeted from the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association.
Since that video hit the stratosphere, multiple videos and reports have surfaced showing unwarranted ticketing or threats to stores, schools, and restaurants by the city’s inspectors.
A previous incident caught on camera showed as an inspector ticketed a restaurant on Coney Island Ave for simply having the store door open, and allowing the inspector inside.
“I have contacted the Department of Health regarding this incident. This harassment must stop,” Deutsch tweeted.
In the words of the inspector: they have a list of schools to issue summonses. They made ZERO attempt to confirm if the school was closed before writing the summons. (It WAS closed)
This keeps happening-it’s not an isolated incident.
Orthodox Jews continue to be targeted in NY. pic.twitter.com/Mm6qgwFAhN
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) October 26, 2020
Why would anyone want to open a business in NYC?? A cafe in our district today received a summons for having their doors open!
They were adhering to the law by banning indoor/outdoor dining, & they were only open for takeout.
That wasn’t enough for this misinformed inspector: pic.twitter.com/vdWIHokOU1
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) October 20, 2020
Jerusalem II pizza on Ave M got a fine from @NYC_Buildings inspector for no reason. As you can see, the eat-in area is totally closed off. They keep hurting our struggling businesses for no reason. How much longer will this continue?! @ChaimDeutsch @KalmanYeger @SEichenstein pic.twitter.com/p7u6g9xNRh
— BP Stores (@BoroParkStores) October 26, 2020