New York Central Park Five acquitted individual detained by officers without reason, advocates for transparency legislation

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Unlawful Stop of NYC Council Member Highlights Need for “How Many Stops Act”

According to our sources, a Council Member from New York City who was part of the falsely accused Central Park Five, reported being stopped for no clear reason by a police officer. The incident happened on a recent Friday evening and has brought fresh attention to a legislation, the How Many Stops Act, which advocates for increased transparency and accountability in instances of police stopping citizens.

What is the How Many Stops Act?

The proposed legislation would compel police officers to record each instance in which they stop someone, regardless of how minor the reason might be. The city’s council is slated to cast their votes this Tuesday in order to overturn Mayor Eric Adams’s veto. Mayor Adams is opposed to the How Many Stops Act.

The Unwarranted Stop Incident

Council Member Yusef Salaam reported that he was in his car when an officer requested him to lower his rear windows. Salaam, whose council placard was clearly displayed on his dashboard, questioned the officer about any potential problem. The officer then retreated without providing any clarification.

In a later statement, the NYPD alleged that the reason for Salaam’s stop was the illegal tint of his car windows. The police maintained that the officer’s conduct was respectful and professional.

Implications of the Incident

Salaam, a Democrat representing a district in central Harlem, believes his experience underscored the necessity for the How Many Stops Act. He expressed, “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 was one of five Black or Latino teens who were wrongfully accused and convicted of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park back in 1989. At 15, he was arrested and spent nearly seven years in prison. The wrongful convictions, Salaam’s included, were annulled in 2002 when DNA evidence emerged, proving their innocence. Salaam made history in November when he was elected to the city council, becoming the first member of the Central Park Five to hold public office.

Seeking Greater Transparency

City council speaker, Adrienne Adams, asserted the necessity of the bill to rectify racial disparities and allegations of misbehavior during police stops. She stated, “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 at their highest level in over a decade, the need for basic transparency is clear,” underlining the urgency before Salaam’s encounter with the police.

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