Cops Dispute Claims Made by Councilman Arrested at Parade

By Murray Weiss on September 16, 2011 12:49pm 

City Councilman Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Jumaane Williams
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jumaanewilliams.com

City Councilman Jumaane Williams claimed he was the victim of racial profiling after police handcuffed him at the West Indian-American Day Parade in Brooklyn.

At a press conference with two dozen other politicians by his side, Williams insisted he did nothing wrong to prompt the controversial incident on Sept. 5. He said he had permission to enter a frozen police zone near the Brooklyn Museum and showed his government ID, but was collared was because the NYPD targets minority men like him — “young, black, with locks and earrings.”

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly apologized to Williams after the clash and announced an investigation. Mayor Michael Bloomberg — borrowing a play from President Obama — suggested Williams sit down with the cops who collared him and hash out the “misunderstanding” over a few beers.

But Williams and Kirsten John Foy, a top aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who was also handcuffed in the incident, flatly declined.

Had the Brooklyn councilman accepted, he might have heard the other side of the story — an account that would make any reasonable beer drinker believe Williams shared responsibility for much of what occurred that afternoon.

Sources familiar with the police probe told "On the Inside" that Williams, who was trying to attend a post parade event at the museum, suddenly showed up at the frozen zone with an entourage of about 20 people.

None of the cops knew who he or his guests were when they tried to pass. And they say he never showed his government ID.

It turned out the first officer to try to deter the Brooklyn councilman was an NYPD detective who normally works undercover in Manhattan North Narcotics, but was in uniform on parade day assigned to the museum zone.

Williams told him he was scheduled to attend an event inside the museum.

The detective, who happens to be Hispanic, told investigators he informed Williams that he had to find another path.

“This is a frozen zone,” the detective told him, the sources said. ”You are not allowed to pass.”

Williams insisted he had permission to breach the zone from a “white shirt” officer, meaning a ranking officer who he said was down the block.

The detective then suggested Williams find the “white shirt” and have the NYPD supervisor escort him into the frozen zone. Williams did not heed the idea and proceeded to blow past the detective, sources said.

Another uniformed officer then stepped in to block his way.

He was also a detective. He put his hand up in front of Williams and his entourage, and the exchange continued.

Realizing that the situation was about to boil over, the detective asked Williams if he would step aside to talk privately.

But Williams refused, and instead tried to pass the second detective without stopping for a moment to show anyone his identification, according to the sources.

That’s when Capt. Charles Girven, dressed in his white shirt, stepped forward and a confrontation began. Something, or someone, hit the captain in the right cheek. He ordered Williams and Foy to be arrested and personally placed Williams in cuffs, the sources said.

A red mark on the captain's cheek was recorded in the police report.

Michael Paladino, president of the detectives’ union, insisted race played no role in the incident.

”The frozen zones are set up for security reasons and in place for everyone to follow,” he said. “Common sense dictates that if you are going to breach a security zone, especially with an entourage, you should expect to be approached no matter what your race.”

But the councilman does not think that was the case. He decried the NYPD "stop, question and frisk" policy, which critics say unfairly target blacks and Hispanics. And he challenged the NYPD "to find one shred of evidence of any police officer being punched in the face."

“Cease and desist with the lies,” he said.

Oddly, while Williams and Foy slammed the NYPD, they praised the leadership of the police commissioner, who apologized for the misunderstanding.

Perhaps they were cutting Kelly some slack because they know there are two sides to every story – and then there is the truth.

Williams declined comment pending the completion of the NYPD probe.

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