City Councilmember From Brooklyn Handcuffed at Parade; Assemblyman Jeffries Demands Apology

Jeffries calls police actions "unjustified" and "further evidence of the siege mentality the NYPD has unleashed against black men in New York City."

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.

pat September 06, 2011 at 10:18 AM
Horrible lack of maturity by the council member and his sidekick. So now we are going to have to cancel West Indian parades too? When will people learn that you do not step up to police officers. Listen here, it does not matter how loud, or Black you are. People don't accept the race card anymore. If you show agression towards a police officer you will get detained, period. This video shows the person dressed in the light colored shirt with jeans, in an agressive posture, which displays agression, ignorance and a lack of respect for authority. Trying to be the big man on campus does not pay off pal. Instead he gets to be on camera being dragged away like the thug that he is. Shameful, ignorant and he should get fired. Did Jeffries actually watch all the video? It's a parade you ignorant people, it is supposed to be fun and people should not be getting shot and arrested.
pat September 06, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Just to clarify my previous statement about how it does not matter how loud, or Black a person is. It was worded wrong, what I meat by it is that it really does not matter how loud an individual is, in this case it was a Black person. If a person of any race is aggressive towards law enforcement there are going to be issues. Just because you have a special ID, it does not grant you access wherever you want to go. This looks terrible on our community and continues to give our area a bad rep. Thank you council members for this wonderful display of maturity.
Chris September 06, 2011 at 10:43 AM
A little humility goes a long way. Ditch the race card and accept some personal responsibility.
Dr. Mafoule Toure September 06, 2011 at 12:32 PM
The city officials were given police permission to use that particular route to the museum. They were acting in an official capacity in efforts to attend an event after the parade. They walked towards the museum with official identification in plain sight. As citizens and city officials, they had a right to question arbitrary insensitive decisions made by policemen who chose not to recognize or investigate these facts. These policemen's violent reactions to verbal statements/questions were completely unprofessional, unacceptable, and out of order. In addition, the forced removal and detention of the city officials was completely uncalled for. Mr. Jefferies' and Mr. de Blasio's recognition of this is truly commendable. The quiet release of both men without charges points to the NYPD's recognition and embarrasment. The policemen involved in this public abuse of power must be seriously disciplined for their excessive acts in this matter.
Marina Stanley September 06, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Racial undertones are woven in without a doubt whether Brooklynites are in agreement or not (depends on one's own experiences, philosophies, perspectives etc.) but with the huge crowds police are already on edge so there is no need to throw around the "I'm a politician" card. I wasn't there, I don't know the specific circumstances but I couldn't agree more that if you are on the unfortunate and subordinate end of a police officer's ire or interrogation you have to abide by it in that moment. Cool heads must prevail and you must go along with the law because you'll generally lose, in that moment it doesn't matter who you are, things need to be sorted out. As a lawmaker and/or city official you may have to hang back a minute and understand the situation is chaotic, cops from every borough are there and may not recognize ever authorized person to walk through a "frozen zone." I would like to know if he had to walk there... what were the circumstances? If it was made clear and Mr. Williams was cleared to walk there, why were the cops being such ball-busters? Was it justified or were they over-reaching in their authority? None can say because we are not in their shoes. It must have been embarrassing for Williams but it's a tense situation and all things considered it ended fairly benignly. Regarding safety, 47 SHOOTINGS IN BROOKLYN THIS WEEKEND??? COME ON!! Cops even in a retreat mode during some of the melee. I def can't handle large crowds and can we address Gun Control!
Josh September 06, 2011 at 01:37 PM
That's a giant crew just for one council member, and they don't look like they're on official business. And their language in the video certainly doesn't sound like any officials that I would vote for.
Chris September 06, 2011 at 02:55 PM
As long as people choose to abuse civility, there will be a response that is deemed 'excessive'. People really need to learn how to act. Police included.
Kendall Jackman September 06, 2011 at 09:21 PM
The problem is "chain of command" does not exist in the police department. Regardless who you see at any situation, cops always do what they want. I worked at the post office during the republican convention and we had clearance to get to our building. None of the office on duty knew or acknowledged this, EVEN AFTER a commander gave us clearance IN FRONT OF THE LOWER RANKS. We still had an argument until that officer came back and saw us still standing there. They are all lone wolves, until one of them gets into trouble.


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