A Black New York City councilman said his race was the reason he and a colleague were pushed around and detained by the police during Brooklyn’s annual West Indian Parade.
According to the Associated Press, New York’s 45th district councilman Jumaane Williams said he and a city aide were trying to attend an official event near the parade on Sept. 5, and were permitted entrance to a blocked off area. But as they approached another checkpoint, Williams said a second officer ignored their badges and he was later shoved and handcuffed by the official.
The two were later detained until their identities were established. Williams says race is the reason for the incident.
“If I did not look the way I look…we are sure things would have been handled differently,” Williams told the AP. “These things happen on a regular basis. If it happens to myself, an elected official…please imagine what is happening to our young, Black and Latino males every single day.”
The NYPD told the New York Times that a large crowd formed and an unknown individual punched a police captain. But Williams said he had not witnessed any violence.
The police department is currently conducting an internal investigation.
The annual parade that celebrates the culture of the Caribbean has been severely stricken by violence in recent years. This year, a shooting near the parade route left two policemen wounded and three people dead.