Updated 09/06/2011 07:33 PM
Brooklyn Councilman Claims Racial Bias In Parade Scuffle
Dozens of elected officials took to the steps of City Hall Tuesday to blast the New York City Police Department for handcuffing and detaining City Councilman Jumaane Williams during Monday's West Indian American Day Carnival in Brooklyn. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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During Monday's West Indian American Day Carnival, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten John Foy of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's office attempted to cross a blocked sidewalk to get to a meeting at the Brooklyn Museum during the raucous event.
Police stopped the officials and they showed official identification, including Williams' City Council badge, but the incident escalated. Amateur video shows police knocking Foy to the ground.
The two officials were handcuffed, taken into custody but were released soon after and never charged.
New York City Police Department officials say an officer was punched by another individual during the incident.
Elected officials, like de Blasio and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, rushed to Williams' side on Tuesday, and the councilman denied that police were attacked.
"What they are saying are bold-faced lies and I would ask them to stop," said Williams. "We do have to acknowledge if I did not look the way I look -- young, black, with locks and earrings -- with another young black male, if we were elected officials of a different persuasion, we are sure things would have been handled differently."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has called for an investigation.
"I think it was a misunderstanding as to who, certainly who the councilman was, and who was allowed and not allowed in this frozen zone. We're trying to get to the bottom of it," said Kelly.
Officials like Williams contend the incident highlights larger problems with the city's stop-and-frisk policy, which targets young blacks and Latinos.
"This is about the thousands, the tens of thousands, indeed the hundreds of thousands of African-American and Latino males, people of color, in this city and and across this nation who are enduring abusive policies by police departments all across this country," said Foy.
Williams said he expects the officers involved will be disciplined.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn's office would not commit to holding hearings on the incident. They are also waiting for the conclusion of the investigation.