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New York City Council Member Yusef Salaam Stopped By NYPD Without Reason

Newly minted NYC Council member and Exonerated Five member, Yusef Salaam, has revealed that a cop pulled him over without giving him an explanation.

Salaam, who was falsely accused of rape and assault in 1989 and later one of the subjects of director Ava DuVernay's limited series When They See Us, was stopped in New York City on January 26 without reason.

This incident highlights a police transparency bill called the How Many Stops Act. This bill requires officers to publicly report on every investigative stop, which includes encounters with civilians.

In the encounter, which lasted less than a minute at 6:20 p.m., the body camera footage reveals that the police officer asked Salaam to roll down the back windows of his car, according to NBC News.

The video shows Salaam identifying himself as a council member and asking if everything is OK. The officer quickly stops without providing further explanation. The police would go on to say that Salaam was stopped because of driving with a dark tint beyond legal limits.

In a statement by the NYPD, the officer conducted himself professionally and respectfully and said that the police officer used discretion to allow the Salaam to complete his official duties.

“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 underreported," Salaam said in a statement.

On a video call with Salaam, City Council member Sandy Nurse, said that when Salaam asked the officer for the reason for the stop, there was no response. Other members of the city council who are Republican said that Salaam “misrepresented the truth of the incident."

Salaam along with four other Black and Latino men, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, were falsely accused and convicted of raping and beating a white jogger in Central Park back in 1989. Salaam was arrested at 15 years old and was imprisoned for close to 7 years. Former President Trump Called for the death penalty which they would become known as The Central Park Five. Their convictions were eventually overturned thanks to DNA evidence.

In 2023, Salaam earned a seat on the New York City Council representing the central Harlem district.

“At a time when Black and Latino New Yorkers continue to be disproportionately subjected to unconstitutional stops that go underreported, and civilian complaints of misconduct are their highest level in over a decade, the need for basic transparency is clear," New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in a statement last Friday.

According to the New York City Council, Salaam has become a family man, father, poet, activist, and inspirational speaker. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama in 2016.


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