Detained Caribbean American Councilmember Screams Racism


After being released from the precint, Councilmember Jumaane Williams, (R), returned to the Brooklyn Museum, where he was met by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who after being called, returned to hear first hand what happened to Mr. Williams. Photo: Hayden Roger Celestin

News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Thurs. Sept. 8, 2011: A Caribbean American elected official in New York says his arrest by New York City police officers Monday all boils down to racial profiling.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams, whose roots stretch to Grenada, was handcuffed and arrested on Monday at the West Indian Labor Day Carnival but later released after being held for some 30 minutes.

Williams said he had showed his council badge to officers at a checkpoint to an exclusive lunch held by Parade organizers Monday but was detained and manhandled along with Kirsten John Foy, director of community relations for the Public Advocate’s office, who was later kicked in the back of the knees. Some of this was caught on video.
On Wednesday, he said the police never would have handcuffed and shoved them around at the West Indian Parade this weekend if they had been white.

“If we were elected officials of a different persuasion … we are sure we wouldn’t have been stopped,” Williams said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall. “If I did not look the way I look …. we are sure things would have been handled differently.”

New York Police Chief Raymond Kelly says the confrontation is under investigation while Mayor Mike Bloomberg yesterday told reporters: the police and the city councilman should “have a beer together and work it out.”

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