It’s fairly common for New Yorkers who are stopped and frisked by the police to claim that they have been targeted, or profiled. But this time, a lot more people are listening to this claim than usual.
A Caucasian police officer has in fact been punished and pulled off active duty after he was proven to have have harassed NYPD Deputy Chief Douglas Zeigler.
Zeigler is the highest-ranking African American officer in the NYPD. He says point blank that he was the victim of racial profiling.
He explains that he was parked in a department-issued SUV, but was wearing plainclothes. That’s when two lower-ranking NYPD officers approached him, according to the New York Daily News.
“In his briefing to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Zeigler said the two cops, who are white, had no legitimate reason to approach his SUV, ranking sources said.
“After they ordered him to get out, one officer did not believe the NYPD identification Zeigler gave him.”
“When one officer spotted Zeigler’s service weapon through the rolled-down window, he yelled “Gun!” according to sources who have spoken with the officers, the New York Daily News reports.
Both cops raised their weapons and ordered the driver out of the car, sources said.
Instead of saying he was an armed member of the NYPD, Zeigler shouted, “Don’t you know who I am?” the sources said.”
The two officers have been reprimanded, with the department acknowledging that this was a clear instance of racial profiling.
WCBS reports the following:
The incident was reported as police are being criticized for stopping and frisking record numbers of pedestrians — about 145,000 in the first quarter of this year. The majority of them were black or Hispanic.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been leading demonstrations in the city to protest the acquittals of three police officers in the shooting death of an unarmed man as he left his bachelor party, took note of the Zeigler incident while speaking at his weekly rally in Harlem.
“You can’t make this stuff up!” he said. “The problem isn’t that they didn’t recognize him. It is that they don’t recognize our rights!”
State Senator Eric Adams commented, “something is wrong with our Police Department and their interactions with people of color.”
Do you agree that there is a systemic problem with racial profiling amongst police officers? Or was this just an isolated incident?
(Article by M. David and Shante Wooten)