Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries issued a statement Monday night stating police officers should be "strongly disciplined" for unnecessarily handcuffing and detaining City Councilmember Jumaane Williams while he was walking along the route of the West Indian Day Parade yesterday in Brooklyn.
According to a New York Times report, Williams and Kirsten John Foy, community affairs director for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, together were walking from Grand Army Plaza to a post-parade event at the Brooklyn Museum, using a sidewalk that the police had blocked off.
According to de Blasio, who said he had spoken to Foy about the episode, the two already were given permission to use the sidewalk by a fellow police officer. But as the two men continued walking down the sidewalk, they were stopped by another group of officers stationed farther along the route.
“Jumaane was wearing a council member’s pin, they were trying to explain who they were, but the officers weren’t listening,” de Blasio said in an interview.
De Blasio said that Williams began to argue with the officers and that at some point he and Foy were both thrown to the ground and handcuffed. They were taken to the Union Temple, a synagogue on Eastern Parkway, where de Blasio said he went after getting the call. There, de Blasio said, he spoke to a police commander, who released Williams and Foy after about 30 minutes without filing charges.
“It’s broad daylight, they get thrown to the ground, they both get arrested,” de Blasio said. “If that’s what happens to an elected official and a senior appointee, imagine what happens to a general member of the public.”
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, arrived there moments after the confrontation and quickly issued a statement calling the treatment of Williams “unjustified" and "further evidence of the siege mentality the NYPD has unleashed against black men in New York City."
"Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly should apologize forthwith and make sure all responsible officers are strongly disciplined."
Mr. Williams did not answer requests for comment. His spokesman, Stefan Ringel, issued a statement that the councilman will address the case at a news conference on Tuesday, September 6, 10:30am, on the steps of City Hall.