What happened to me at the parade: City Councilman Jumaane Williams explains how he ended up in cuffs

jumaane.jpegLabor Day is typically a joyous time for me and the Caribbean community of New York City. This year, it turned chaotic for many, including for myself and a close colleague.

As always, I enjoyed marching with family and friends in the West Indian-American Day Carnival Parade down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Upon the conclusion of the parade route, members of the group I was marching with, which included Kirsten John Foy, director of community relations for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, sought to return to the Brooklyn Museum to attend a luncheon reception marking the close of the carnival.

Upon showing our credentials, we were given permission by a supervising officer near the library at Grand Army Plaza to enter a barricaded area, which was meant for elected officials and dignitaries, and make our way back to the museum. After walking several hundred yards and passing through an initial police checkpoint without any issues, we encountered three police officers standing on the sidewalk who informed us that this was a restricted area to civilians. I identified myself as a council member to the officers and explained that we were trying to get to the 

The officers were immediately resistant. I showed the officers my council badge, and Foy explained that we were given permission by a higher ranking officer to be in the barricaded area. The officers still refused to acknowledge my credentials, as well as those of Foy, who was also trying to show his credentials at this time. They told me to have the officers who had given us permission relay their approval to them.

I attempted to reach two higher ranking officers which were just on the other side of the barricaded area, at which point I was pushed for the first time. I stepped back, asked not to be pushed, and said that I would be calling a local police chief to explain the situation. I was then pushed again. When I got on the phone with the chief, the group, which had swelled to 10-15 officers, formed a human barricade of sorts - and began physically pushing us more. Neither Foy nor I ever pushed them back; we only continued to try to dialogue with them about who we were and why we were there.

It was at this point, as video has now shown, that Foy was kicked in the back of the knee, pushed to the ground and handcuffed by officers. Shortly after, when I turned around briefly, I too was grabbed by the arm and placed in handcuffs. We were then led in separate directions, initially to the 78th Precinct headquarters. Then, after the intervention of several officials, we were taken to the Union Temple of Brooklyn, which is across from the library. After being held there for 40 to 60 minutes, we were released with no charges.

So what comes next? If I were not an elected official, I would have been taken to central booking and charged, no questions asked. That fact makes clear to me how serious the situation is for our young black and Latino men who suffer from this police culture every single day. While the actions of the select number of police officers involved here do not represent the entire NYPD, they do reflect a stop-and-frisk policy that unfairly targets people based on race and appearance.

Not only is this unproductive, it has not been proved to be effective in curbing violence in our communities. The increasing violence in my district alone is proof positive to me of this failure.

My intention is to make the Police Department better, not to attack it. That is why we are seeking reprimand and discipline of the officers in question, as well as policy change that includes the end to stop and frisk and other practices that disproportionately impact young black and Latino men. That is how something truly positive can come of this event.

Williams is a city councilman representing FlatbushEast FlatbushFlatlands, parts of Midwood and Canarsie.

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@Sr3xP tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-19 21:36:03 -0400
What happened to me at the parade: City Councilman Jumaane Williams explains how he ended up in cuffs http://t.co/JPWFEO3f H/T @kesmarn
@WeareTheCypher tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-19 19:39:47 -0400
What happened to me at the parade: City Councilman Jumaane Williams explains how he ended up in cuff http://t.co/uGB7xKg2
commented 2011-09-15 17:20:41 -0400 · Flag
Another example of the Fascistic system under which we now live in the USA.
@PlanetPOV tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-15 13:58:51 -0400
What happened to me at the parade: City Councilman Jumaane Williams explains how he ended up in cuffs http://t.co/JPWFEO3f H/T @kesmarn
commented 2011-09-15 13:33:39 -0400 · Flag
This is not unexpected with the passage of the Patriot Act. Giving the government unfettered power always results in miss use of that power.
commented 2011-09-15 02:08:06 -0400 · Flag
What we must do.

All of this is to be expected in this violent white racist society called the USA. We were never meant to be treated as equals and if not for governmental contracts with the constitution and bill of rights we would still be enslaved in ball and chains. There has been an all out attack on “blacks” across the African Diaspora and we are actually helping the White supremacist Anglo-elite eliminate Africans and our own. They have gone to great lengths to quiet us and keep us divided and we have ignorantly helped them do that too! We have nothing of our own as a community in this country and they have made sure by hook or crook that it is kept this way.
We must gather our intelligent leadership and begin to unify our people in such a way that we don’t alert them. We must create an inventory of what is left of our “race” and we must begin the gather them together man woman and child, body and soul. We must unify our intelligence and our wealth and create a strong buffer against these tyrants who secretly pretend to be our friends while attacking and picking us off at will. We must strive to collect ourselves and build a cohesive unity among each other in spite of the problems caused among us by this racist social structure and all of it’s machinations. We can no longer trust those who run this country nor their ignorant lackeys. We can hardly trust our highly deceived own, but we must strive desperately to break through this demonic group of “black” people slaughterers that pretend to be our friends. They use our own against us it is their tried and true method of breaking down our rank and file. We must pull our people together and make them understand just how detrimental it is that we unify and strengthen ourselves just like the Jews have. We must follow the patterns the Jews have already laid out which helped them to strengthen their few in number to now be a powerful force never to be abused again.
commented 2011-09-15 00:22:41 -0400 · Flag
Correction: This has been a common occurrence for far too long. White or light skinned people are treated without suspicion or malice, while their dark-skinned counterparts are often demoralized by the actions of police….
commented 2011-09-15 00:15:03 -0400 · Flag
This has been a common occurrence for far too long. White or light skinned people are often demoralized by the actions of police. There is a great disconnect because of the unspoken prejudices officers bring to the table. People in power have an obligation to be more informed and rise above the dark & obtuse prejudices of certain locales, but unfortunately the selection process does not always bring out the best and brightest. Many times on police forces we end up with reactionary, close-knit enforcers of control (a good way of describing the “slave traders” of yesterday". I am glad that Councilman Williams poor experience has helped to shed light on this issue. Education and the muting of stereotypes will eventually help to lessen these types of occurrences. Time and the recount of these types of interactions are on our side.
@WuDatWuz tweeted link to this page. 2011-09-14 21:19:47 -0400
The Black Institute http://t.co/yosvrzrA
commented 2011-09-14 16:36:13 -0400 · Flag
Thank you for helping to expose the racism in this city and its police department. Your courage in standing firm is admirable and your determination to get justice is necessary for all New Yorkers if we are to live in a decent society.
commented 2011-09-14 16:22:00 -0400 · Flag
We really don’t realize how much our civil liberties have been diminished, all under the guise of “Be thankful that they are doing this”…….
commented 2011-09-14 16:11:02 -0400 · Flag
It is high time to expose this pattern of institutionalized abuse. Congratulations on this excellent posting!
published this page in Black Ops 2011-09-09 16:32:00 -0400
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