On Tuesday, the New York City Council overwhelmingly approved two measures on police and prison reform, thus removing vetoes imposed by New York Mayor Eric Adams on these legislative projects. One of the bills would require NYPD officers to report the race, gender and age of people they interact with or stop for questioning. Other legislation would limit the time people in police custody can be held in solitary confinement in the city’s troubled jail system. Among the council members who supported overriding the vetoes was newly elected Harlem Councilman Yusef Salaam, one of five black and Latino teenagers wrongfully convicted of a 1989 beating and rape. of a white woman in Central Park. Salaam, who spent seven years in prison, including prison, before being exonerated, spoke in emotional words on Tuesday before voting in his favor to override the vetoes.
Councilor Yusef Salaam: “I voted in favor because today the New York City Council is fighting for the implementation of two bills that will bring about a generational change in our criminal justice system. (…) If these laws were implemented in 1989 (…) I voted in favor.
Yusef Salaam’s vote came just days after he was detained by the police while traveling in a car with his family. At the time, Salaam said the officer never responded to his request to know why he was detained.