Yusef Salaam, one of the five Central Park exonerees and current council member for a central Harlem district, claimed that an NYPD officer who pulled him over on Friday did not provide any explanation for the traffic stop.
But the NYPD in a statement praised the officers and claimed that they acted “professional and respectful”, adding that the traffic stop was executed because the council member’s car windows had dark tints – which is a state law offense, WABC reported.
The encounter, which happened in Harlem, ended after the 50-year-old told the officer that he was a council member. Salaam also claimed the officer did not provide any explanation for executing the traffic stop. He said that experience partly resulted in him not showing up at a police ride-along that Mayor Eric Adams organized the following day.
“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.
Adams had organized the police ride-along as a last try to encourage council members to support his veto of the controversial How Many Stops Act. The act seeks to mandate police to document majority of its investgative encounters with the public.
But authorities and Adams claim the proposed initiative will pile up paperwork for officers and also get in the way of their efforts to serve civilians.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, Salaam, together with Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, served between seven and 13 years in prison after they were convicted of brutally assaulting and raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. The five men were later exonerated in 2002 when rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the attack, with DNA evidence supporting his claim.
In 2014, the five men received a $41 million settlement from New York City. In addition to that payout, they received an additional $3.9 million in 2016 out of which Korey Wise, the individual who served the longest prison time, received $1.5 million, New York Daily News reported.