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The NYPD is under fire after a traffic stop of City Councilman Yusef Salaam, with observers noting it as more inducement for police transparency.

Last Friday (January 25), City Councilman Yusef Salaam was driving through Harlem with his wife and children when an NYPD officer pulled him over. In a statement, Salaam said that as the officer approached, he told him that he was a city council member; Salaam had been listening to a call with his fellow members during the drive. “I introduced myself as Councilman Yusef Salaam and subsequently asked the officer why I was pulled over. Instead of answering my question, the officer stated, ‘We’re done here,’ and proceeded to walk away,” the statement continued. Salaam concluded by stating he wasn’t given a reason for the stop.

The NYPD would release the body camera footage of the incident, saying: “As the video shows, throughout the interaction, the officer conducted himself professionally and respectfully.” When asked about the reason for the stop, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Information Tarik Sheppard claimed that he was unsure if Salaam asked the officer the reason for the stop, but said that the report disclosed that the reason was that Salaam’s vehicle had an out-of-state license plate and illegally tinted windows. Mayor Eric Adams defended the stop saying it was a “picture-perfect example” of a professional police response.

Councilman Salaam, who was one of the Exonerated Central Park Five spending up to a decade wrongfully imprisoned, still maintained that he was not notified then of the reasons for the stop and cited that as a reason why he and his colleagues have heavily advocated for a new police transparency bill opposed by Mayor Adams. He declined to join a ride-along scheduled by the mayor, who claims the new bill’s guidelines would cause more work for officers. Other Council members who are more conservative such as Robert Holden blasted Salaam for announcing his position during the stop, accusing him of “using his official title to evade the law.”

However, Salaam was defended by others in the Council including Sandy Nurse, who overheard the interaction on the call. “He’s a dark-skinned Black man who went through a very traumatic thing as a child,” she said. “I think it would only make sense for him to identify himself, as someone who has lived his experience, to an officer — why wouldn’t he make that clear?”

Photo: Getty

NYPD Catches Flack For Traffic Stop of Yusef Salaam  was originally published on