Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Neuer released

There is a certain irony: Hillel Neuer was arrested by panicked locals who saw someone who looked foreign behaving in strange ways in a Pizza Parlor. One would almost suspect that they thought he was an Arab and treated him accordingly, assuming that if there were any crimes locally he must be guilty.

But Arabs tend not to have the charges dismissed so lightly.


Judge dismisses charge against man caught during Needham frenzy
Jessica Fargen By Jessica Fargen
Tuesday, November 6, 2007 -

Police reports and 911 tapes released yesterday show how downtown Needham, already on edge with a murderer on the loose, sunk fast into hysteria Friday afternoon as panicked workers led police to believe an armed killer was holed up inside a pizza shop.

“Oh my God he has a gun,” screamed a woman who called 911 to alert cops about man inside Stone Hearth Pizza, her voice growing more fevered by the second. “We think he has a gun. Oh my God, we need someone here.”

That man was Hillel Neuer, an unarmed 37-year-old international human rights scholar, whose arrest at gunpoint was fueled by fear and broadcast on Boston TV stations.

Yesterday, a Dedham District Court judge found no probable cause for his disorderly conduct charge, but the damage is done, said his attorney, David Eisenstadt.

“Mr. Neuer was an innocent victim who went to a restaurant in Needham and was traumatized and almost killed,” he said. “There was no justification to charge Mr. Neuer with anything.”

Neuer was arrested amid the hunt for the man police say killed a Needham grandfather inside his home and fled on foot. William Dunn, 41, of Norwood, was arrested for the murder later that afternoon in the reeds off Route 128.

Neuer, the executive director of the Geneva-based group U.N. Watch, was in Needham to meet with supporters when he popped by Stone Hearth Pizza, changed clothes in the bathroom and started acting “erratically,” according to police reports.

Chris Robbins, the restaurant owner, said his employees told him Neuer asked for a cab five times, changed into a suit and darted out to next-door CVS pharmacy halfway through his pizza.

“I don’t think there was any fault on our part,” he said.“He was pacing back and forth up and down the restaurant at enormous speeds. He was walking in and out of the restaurant.”

One pizza worker said Neuer looked nervous and was “constantly fixing himself and looking around,” a police report states.

At about 2 p.m., Needham police were flooded with 911 calls from Stone Hearth.

One of those calls was even from Neuer, who was ordered by police to walk out of the pizza parlor into the arms of SWAT team members.

Needham police maintain that they responded to the incident “with proper care and consideration for public safety,” according to a statement released yesterday.

Eisenstadt was outraged by the “reckless” arrest.

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