NYC City Councilman Yusef Salaam Pulled Over By NYPD While On Call About Police Stops

The new councilman said the officer did not give him an explanation on why he was pulled over in Harlem on Jan.26.

Yusef Salaam, a New York City councilman who was also one of the Central Park Five, whose case was vacated in 2002, was stopped by a police officer and was not given an explanation on why his vehicle was pulled over, USA Today reports.

The stop happened on Friday (Jan.26) at about 6:20 p.m. according to police cam footage released on social media and took place while he was with his wife and children in Harlem. Ironically, he was on speakerphone discussing police stops with other council members at the time of the incident.

Surveillance video shows the officer approaching Salaam's vehicle and asking him to roll down the back window, and Salaam complied with the request. Then the officer said he was a member of the NYPD and shined his flashlight on Salaam in the driver's seat. Salaam said that he was a council member and asked the officer if everything was OK.

The officer asked whether Salaam was working and said, "Take care, sir” before allowing him to leave.

On Saturday (Jan.27), Salaam released a statement about the traffic stop and noted that it was an example of the need for greater transparency in the NYPD.

 "This experience only amplified the importance of transparency for all police investigative stops because the lack of transparency allows racial profiling and unconstitutional stops of all types to occur and often go unreported," Salaam said in a statement.

Exonerated Central Park Five Member Yusef Salaam Elected To NYC City Council In Full Circle Moment

Councilwoman Sandy Nurse, one of the members who was on the call with Salaam when he was pulled over, said that the councilmen was being “briefed by lawyers on what to expect during a ride-along stop” and expressed her frustrations with the incident. 

“You can’t make this up, “Nurse said.

Although Salaam said that he was not offered a reason why his vehicle was pulled over, the NYPD later said that the councilman was stopped by the officer because his tinted windows were too dark.

"As the video shows, throughout this interaction, the officer conducted himself professionally and respectfully," the NYPD said in a statement. "This officer should be commended for his polite, professional, and respectful conduct and for using his discretion appropriately so the councilmember could complete his official duties."

Salaam’s encounter with the police highlights the argument for the passage of the How Many Stops Act, a bill to increase police transparency, CBS News reports. The legislation was passed by the City Council last month but was vetoed by Mayor Eric Adams.

On Tuesday (Jan.30), City Council members are scheduled to vote to override Adams’ veto of the bill which would require law enforcement officials to publicly report on all investigative stops and other encounters with civilians throughout New York City.

Salaam, was convicted as a teenager for a 1989 beating and rape of a White woman that he did not commit along with Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. After the real assailant, Matias Reyes came forward with a confession, years after they had served their time, their case was vacated. Salaam became one of the newest members of the New York City Council without opposition in November.

Currently, Salaam represents Harlem in the City Council.

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