Cops detain councilman at West Indian Day Parade

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Flatbush Councilman Jumaane Williams was detained during a heated confrontation with cops at the West Indian Parade on Monday afternoon — and the incident immediately provoked charges that the cops over-reacted because of Williams’s skin color.

The black councilman, a Democrat, and Kirsten John-Foy, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio’s director of community affairs, were walking down an empty, cordoned off sidewalk as they made their way to a luncheon at the Brooklyn Museum at 1:30 pm when several officers stopped the pair and demanded to know why they were inside a “frozen zone.”

Cops may have been on edge because of an unrelated shooting about an hour earlier further up the parade route.

Stefan Ringle, a spokesman for Williams who witnessed the arrest, said that a high-ranking police official had given the councilman and John-Foy permission to pass through the barricaded area earlier in the day. But when the duo neared a police checkpoint, three patrolmen began interrogating Williams and John-Foy — even as the freshman legislator tried to show the ID badge that all councilmembers receive.

“He explained who he was, but the police officer was not listening and began speaking to him in higher tones,” Ringel told the Daily News. “The speech got a bit disrespect­ful.”

But cops say that Ringel has it all wrong: the officers merely detained Williams and John-Foy for their own safety.

Under this rendition of the story, the NYPD says that while the officers were questioning Williams and John-Foy, several men nearby got into a brawl with police, with one hitting an NYPD captain.

As the brawl escalated, the officers handcuffed Williams and John-Foy and took them out of harm’s way, a police spokesman claimed.

“In order to separate them from the crowd, [Williams and John-Foy] were brought across the street and detained until their identities were established,” the NYPD spokesman said, although he would not provide any information about the brawl that prompted this decision.

Ringel said that the cops never accosted Williams, but John-Foy was knocked to the ground before being taken across the street.

Neither man was charged and both were released from custody within 30 minutes. And later, both received a personal apology from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who promised to launch an investigation, an NYPD spokesman said.

Williams said very little about the arrest on Monday, which he called “an easily avoidable incident involving a select number of police officers.” He promised to provide more details at a press conference set for today at 10:30 am at City Hall.

Cops were on heightened alert on Monday afternoon after a man fired off a gun at the start of the parade near the corner of Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Avenue at noon. The gunman was apprehended after a brief chase, cops said.

Yet some believe that the police detained Williams and John-Foy without cause.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jefferies (D-Fort Greene) called the incident an “unjustified arrest.”

“Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly should make sure all responsible officers are strongly disciplined,” Jefferies said.

DeBlasio agreed, claiming that he wants the officers involved to be investigated for police misconduct.

“I am very concerned that the officers escalated this situation needlessly, even as two public servants were trying to show identifica­tion,” he said.

Williams, who is currently chair of the Council’s oversight and investigation committee, was looking forward to attending the annual parade, tweeting on Monday morning, “To all my West Indian family: “Mash up di Parkway!!!”

His is also a strong opponent of the NYPD’s stop, question and frisk procedures, which he says unduly target minorities.

“[Stop-and-frisk] is racial profiling and it does nothing to reduce crime,” he said.

— with Dan MacLeod

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Reader Feedback

John from Westminster Road says:
The "parade" should return to its carnival roots with several smaller events throughout Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy. It has tried to be big time, and could be, but has remained more of a block party with rag tag floats and lackluster staging. Does it even pretend to celebrate the geat accomplishments and achievements of West Indians in America?
Sept. 6, 2011, 1:29 am
jamoke from Bay Ridge says:
'He is also a strong opponent of the NYPD’s stop, question and frisk procedures, which he says unduly target minorities.

“[Stop-and-frisk] is racial profiling and it does nothing to reduce crime,” he said.'

Wrong. 'Stop and Frisk' doesn't 'unduly target minorities' if it is employed in areas where minorities are 95% of the demographic living (and walking) in that area.

Wrong. ~ 70-80% of those stopped have outstanding arrest warrants, ~ 90% have (long) prior arrest records.

The system works, as much as those who dislike what it reveals would have you believe otherwise.
Sept. 6, 2011, 8:27 am
Dad from BedSty says:
jamoke, I don't think anyone objects to the effectiveness of S&F. It is open to abuses and can lead to arrests for DWB. Or in this case, walking. No one needed to be cuffed to separate them from the crowd, unless they were acting aggressively when the other violence broke out.
Sept. 6, 2011, 9:01 am
Jaded from Br says:
There's no need for cops at all at this parade with the exception of traffic cops.
Sept. 6, 2011, 9:43 am
quicke from Prospect Heights says:
Yeah... The NYPD never abuses their power.

I witnessed a NYPD Cop punch a guy in the face while he was detained by 3 other officers. (A tall, tattooed, Blonde haired cop with a mohawk on Coney Island.) They smashed in his face rather nicely. Good Times!

They also never, never run red lights. Never make illegal right turns. Nope... Doesn't happen. Lights and sirens are fair game. No lights, no sirens... breaking the laws they are hired to uphold. That's alright, everyone gets a pass on the job.

The NYPD cuffed these two without cause and are now trying to back peddle their way out of it. Classic!
Sept. 6, 2011, 10:32 am
Antonio from Brooklyn says:
They should detain and arrest him for serving as a bad councilman in this area and presiding over such a disgrace... the crime associated with the parade is a disgrace to Brooklyn, NYC, and frankly America as a whole.
Sept. 6, 2011, 11:13 am
Gerry from Brooklyn Heights says:
What ever happened to the "Welcome Back to Brooklyn" parade and party that was held every year by Brooklyn Union Gas?
Sept. 6, 2011, 11:34 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
What's Bill DeBlasio's real name? I can't remember, but it always cracks me up as it seems so cynical.

Also, where's the photo? I'm having trouble figuring out if Jumaane is a man or a woman. What about Kirsten John Foy?

Lastly, sorry coppers, no one is buying that you handcuffed these folks for their own safety - total B.S.
Sept. 6, 2011, 2:18 pm
John from Park Slope says:
Why don't they just solve this problem one time for all, and terminate this parade for good to alleviate the violence locals have proven to cause at it over the years. Its a shame that a celebration turns into a nightmare.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:56 am
Sharon from Flatbush Ave says:
Every year somebody dies at this parade celebration. Over 50 people were shot over the Labor day weekend while celebrating the West Indian Day Parade. My family is from Trinidad and this nonesense dont take place down there.
Church Avenue was a mess, 4 people alone was shot at a barbeque 1 died on the spot. If these people have to come celebrate with weapons, we don't need to have Juvert or a Parade. It's time to end it. It has gotten to dangerous. You never hear this stuff happening at the Irish Parade, Puerto Rican Day Parade, or any other cultural parade. It always happen at the West Indian Day Parade. The May need to END it NOW!!!!!!!!
Sept. 7, 2011, 6:14 pm

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