Updated 11/10/2011 06:27 PM
Councilman Says NYPD Officers Disciplined Over Parade Scuffle
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A Brooklyn lawmaker who claims he was wrongly arrested during the West Indian Day Parade said he was informed Thursday that the involved police officers, including a captain, have been disciplined.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams said he was informed of the actions in a letter from the New York City Police Department.
He said two officers stand to lose vacation days and a third officer received a verbal discipline.
"We are happy that a white shirt [captain] was meted discipline because we believed had the white shirt had taken control of the scene this would not have happened," said the councilman.
Williams says back in September, he and Kirsten Foy, an aide to the Public Advocate, were falsely arrested and put in handcuffs by officers as they tried to get to a luncheon in a "frozen zone" following the West Indian Day Parade.
The councilman says officers refused to let them through even after showed them his City Council ID, and he believes the officers did not believe him because he is black with dreadlocks.
The two officials were released soon after and never charged.
The New York Civil Liberties Union represented the councilman after he complained about what he called abuse. The organization says the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau determined excessive force was used and the arrests were unwarranted.
The group says one officer and his supervisor will be written up and lose vacation days. Another officer will get a verbal discipline.
Foy said perhaps more officers should have been reprimanded.
"There was one commanding officer in our minds who was more responsible because he was the one that was in direct control, commanding control, of the police officers," said Foy. "But yet there was another commanding officer, a white shirt who attempted to arrest Jumaane. So we're confused about which white shirt, which commanding officer is being held accountable when there were failures by multiple commanding officers to do the right thing."
At one point, amateur video showed police knocking Foy to the ground.
"What happened to Councilman Williams and Mr. Foy is not an aberration, it is emblematic of the serious attitude problem of the NYPD," said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.
NYPD officials say an officer was punched by another individual during the incident and that the officers were only doing their jobs.
"You have a councilman who is in a rush to get to a luncheon. He decides to use his official status in order to get past police barricades to get there. He was stopped by officers who did not know who he was," said Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter, the head of the union that represents police supervisors.
Williams said if there were no video or photos of the incident, he believes the NYPD would never have disciplined the officers.
He also wants to meet with other city officials to assure similar incidents don't happen in the future.