Councilman Says He Was Handcuffed, Detained Because of Race

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A City Council member and an aide say they were detained by police during the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn on Monday because of their race.

Speaking at City Hall on Tuesday, City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten John Foy, an an aide to Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, said they were accosted by cops when they were walking along a blocked-off sidewalk. 

"If I did not look the way I look, we are sure things would have been handled differently," the 35-year-old, who wears an earring and his hair in long dreadlocks, said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall. "These things happen on a regular basis. If it happens to myself, an elected official, please imagine what is happening to our young, black and Latino males every single day."

A spokesman for Williams said the councilman had been given permission by a police official to walk along a blocked-off sidewalk but was later stopped by police.

Both men, who are black, said they were ignored by police when they attempted to show their IDs.

The two were never booked in the system and no charges were filed.

Williams is the son of West Indian immigrants and represents a district with a large West Indian population.

Police have said Williams and Foy were stopped from entering a frozen zone near the Brooklyn Museum, where a crowd formed and someone punched a police captain. The two were handcuffed, taken across the street, detained until their identities were established and then released, police said.

A spokesman for the police department said the commissioner met with Williams and has ordered an investigation into the incident.

The Public Advocate's office obtained the video below and said they provided it to the NYPD. They say it was not recorded by someone from their office.

With the Associated Press.


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Comments [3]

R. Thompson

The detention of the councilman was just salt on the wound. To effectively end the "parade" at 4:00 p.m. is a travesty and an insult to all Carribean people. The police "ushered" the crowd off the Parkway and "instructed" vendors to close their stalls at the height of the festivities. This action by tyhe authorities needs a response from our leadership.

Sep. 06 2011 04:08 PM

Give me a break. I was verbally assaulted twice this weekend because I was white in a black neighborhood. You were walking where you weren't supposed to be walking, get over the race issue.

Sep. 06 2011 04:07 PM
Jacob Anderson

The Times reports that the councilman and his aide were briefly detained but not arrested, according to a police spokesman.

Sep. 06 2011 10:42 AM

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