New York councilman who years ago was part of a group of five young people who were imprisoned, accused of rape, and later released, known as “The Central Park Five,” reported that he was detained by the police and stopped without explaining.
The arrest of Councilman Yusef Salaam on Friday sheds light on a law that sparked a fight between City Council members and Mayor Eric Adams after the mayor, a former police captain, vetoed the measure.
The law requires officers to publicly report all stops for investigation, including relatively minor encounters with civilians.
In the encounter with Salaam, which lasted less than a minute at 6:20 p.m., a police officer, heard on a body camera recording provided by the Police Department, asked Salaam to roll down the back windows of his car.
But after Salaam identified himself as a councillor, the agent quickly left without giving any explanation for the arrest.
Police later said in a statement that Salaam was arrested for driving with a darker color than permitted.
The police officer acted professionally and respectfully, the NYPD said in the statement, adding that he used his discretion to allow the councilman to complete his official duties.
“This experience only reinforces the importance of transparency in all identifications in police investigations because the lack of transparency allows racial profiling and unconstitutional identifications of all kinds that happen and often go unreported,” he said. Salaam in a statement.
Salaam and four other black or Latino men were falsely accused and convicted of raping and beating a white woman in Central Park in 1989. Salaam was arrested at the age of 15 and spent almost seven years in prison. Their convictions were eventually overturned due to DNA evidence.
Salaam won a seat on the New York City Council in November and represents a district in central Harlem.