Yusef Salaam, a New York City councilman who was one of the Central Park Five, is speaking out about being pulled over by police amid a fight over transparency on how the New York City Police Department stops people, USA Today reports. Salaam said that on Friday, he was with his wife and children in Harlem. He was on a call on speakerphone with other council members, one of whom was discussing police stops. Councilwoman Sandy Nurse said she was on the call as Salaam was pulled over and not given a reason for the stop, while getting briefed by lawyers on what to expect during a ride-along stop. "You cannot make this up," she said. Salaam and four other Black and Latino youths were falsely accused of a 1989 rape and beating of a white woman who was running in Central Park. He was wrongly imprisoned and released in 1997. All convictions were vacated. In late 2023, he won a City Council seat to represent Harlem.
Less than a month into his tenure, Salaam was stopped by police at about 6:20 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the police department released bodycam footage showing the stop on social media. In the released footage, the officer never indicated why he stopped Salaam. Salaam said the interaction calls into question how NYPD stops New Yorkers. Salaam and other members of the City Council have pushed the police and Mayor Eric Adams for increased reporting on all stops, including low-level interactions. "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. "We also appreciate and commend the NYPD for following all proper police procedures and being respectful during last night’s interaction, as the video and vehicle stop report show," Adams said. "The village of Harlem deserves nothing less, and we are remain excited to work with Councilmember Salaam.”