Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents the 46th district which overlaps portions of Community Board 15, was detained this weekend during the West Indian Day Parade, along with an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Williams claims the police handled him roughly and unnecessarily, even while he presented his City Council bonafides and explained that NYPD brass had given him clearance.
Today, Williams held a press conference while flanked by scores of other elected officials from around the city and state, stating that he believed the incident occurred because of his skin color and the discriminatory stop-and-frisk protocol tainting enforcement culture.
Below is a statement Williams’ office issued following the conference.
COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS’ STATEMENT FOLLOWING TODAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE ON HIS ARREST AT WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE
BROOKLYN, NY, September 6, 2011: Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) released the following statement to complement his remarks at today’s press conference addressing he and Kirsten John Foy, Director of Community Relations for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D-New York), being placed in handcuffs and detained by police Monday afternoon at the West Indian-American Day Carnival.
“First of all, I want to express my dismay and sadness over the tragic violence that occurred this weekend. It is unacceptable for young black and Latino men to be dying in these numbers. These are New York City’s children. I am glad to see that this story is receiving some attention, but now action must be taken. It is paramount that the police continue to partner with us to combat violence in our communities. I look forward to continuing to work with local police officers to combat youth violence in our communities, as I did when I introduced legislation that a now-retired community affairs officer brought to my attention.
As to yesterday’s events, it is important that the key facts are set straight, since the statement released by the NYPD was blatantly unfactual. No punches were thrown by anyone involved. Both Mr. Foy and myself had been given clearance by a higher-ranking police officer to be on the sidewalk, which was reserved for elected officals and other dignitaries. We both presented our credentials and identification repeatedly to police officers immediately upon being questioned. Furthermore, the claim that we were detained until our identities were established is ridiculous.
This was an incident involving a select number of police officers that quickly and unnecessary escalated itself. We believe that had Mr. Foy or I been white, this would not have happened. Plain and simple. It is a reflection of a culture which includes stop and frisk protocol that I hope after this incident will finally end, based on how unfairly it targets innocent black and Latino young men.
I have spoken with Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, both of whom have assured me that an investigation is underway. Whatever action is taken against the police officers in question, it must be accompanied by real policy reform for this to mean anything.
Thank you to all who came to the event to support Mr. Foy and myself, including, but not limited to: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Eric Adams, State Senator Kevin Parker, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Senator John L. Sampson, Assembly Member Karim Camara, Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson, Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries, Assembly Member N. Nick Perry, Council Member Charles Barron, Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Member Daniel Dromm, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Member David Greenfield, Council Member Robert Jackson, Council Member Letitia James, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Stephen Levin, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member Deborah Rose, District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte, District Leader Robert Cornegy, District Leader Jesse Hamilton, District Leader Lincoln Restler, District Leader Walter Mosley, Pastor Gilford T. Monrose from the 67th Precinct Clergy Council; Reverend Charles Galbreath from the Clarendon Road Church, Reverend Cheryl Anthony from the Brooklyn NYPD Clergy Task Force, Elder Victor Young from St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church, Rabbi Yechezkel Pikus from the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, Rabbi Aryweh Ralbag from the Young Israel Synagogue of Avenue K and Monique Waterman from East Flatbush Village, Inc.”