Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bronx Assemblyman Files Complaint Against the Police

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Bronx Assemblyman Files Complaint Against the Police"

>> A New York State assemblyman from the Bronx has filed a formal complaint against the police, claiming he was roughly handled by an officer after asking about police activity in his district.

The assemblyman, Michael Blake [33, a freshman Democrat representing part of the South Bronx], said that while he was attending a family event at the Gouverneur Morris Houses at East 169th Street and Washington Avenue, he saw a woman in handcuffs and approached the officers involved to discuss the situation. Moments later, Mr. Blake said, an argument broke out behind him.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Mr. Blake said that as he rushed toward the confrontation a uniformed officer bear-hugged him, lifted him off the ground and “slammed” him against a gate outside the housing complex.

[...] Then a captain from the Police Service Area patrolling the complex intervened after recognizing Mr. Blake as an elected official, the police said.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Police Department said that it “has been made aware of Mr. Blake’s allegations and will be conducting a review of the incident.”

[...] And while the officer did offer an apology, Mr. Blake said, it fell short of an acknowledgment of fault. Mr. Blake said the officer claimed to be in “a protective mode” over his partner and added that “if the situation presented itself, he would do the same thing again.”

The assemblyman said that he did not recall touching the sergeant but that even if he had done so, “in the heat of the second, that didn’t justify what happened.”

Mr. Blake filed a formal notice Saturday night with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, claiming excessive force, something he thought may have been related to his race.

[...] The use of excessive force by the police, particularly in relation to African-Americans, has been a pressing local and national issue, highlighted by a series of high-profile episodes across the country.

Mr. Blake, said that he chose to make the complaint public because, “too often, people are quiet when these things happen” and “leaders have a responsibility to communicate to the community about how to take positive action.” <<


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