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NYPD sets the record straight after Central Park 5 member told racially charged tall tale about traffic stop
Photo by CECILIA SANCHEZ/AFP via Getty Images

NYPD sets the record straight after Central Park 5 member told racially charged tall tale about traffic stop

Yusef Salaam's account of his traffic stop bears little similarity to the truth. Council members are now calling on him to resign.

New York City Councilman Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five, was pulled over in Harlem by police Friday evening, just days ahead of a council vote on legislation that would bury police in paperwork over low-level stops.

Salaam complained about the traffic stop, suggesting he had been pulled over without a reason and that racial bias was a factor. Bodycam footage of the interaction told an entirely different story.

For besmirching the police force and using a revisionist account of the traffic stop for political purposes, Salaam's peers are now calling for his resignation.

The stop, according to Salaam

The Democrat, who assumed office on Jan. 1, claimed in a statement — which was well trafficked by the liberal media — that upon being pulled over, he introduced himself as "Councilman Yusef Salaam, and subsequently asked the officer why [he] was pulled over."

"Instead of answering my question, the officer stated 'We're done here,' and proceeded to walk away," continued Salaam. "The fact that the officer did not provide a rationale for the stop, which would have only been legal at 'level 3' (with reasonable suspicion) or higher as required for vehicle stops, calls into question how the NYPD justifies its stops of New Yorkers and highlights the need for greater transparency to ensure they are constitutional."

"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," added Salaam.

The city council is set to vote Tuesday to override Mayor Eric Adams veto on leftists' "How Many Stops Act."

The bill, supported and promoted by Salaam, would require police to provide quarterly reports detailing information on "level one, two, and three investigative encounters between the police and civilians, including the race/ethnicity, age and gender of the civilian approached by the police, the factors that led to the interaction, and whether the interaction led to a summons or use of force incident."

While police officers don't have to provide a reason for a stop, Salaam stressed the officer should have done so anyway, reported the New York Times.

"We know that the danger is there every single time a black man in particular gets behind the wheel of a car," said the councilman.

The stop as it really happened

In the bodycam footage of the incident, an officer approaches a blue BMW with heavily tinted windows — so tinted as to preclude an officer from seeing the race of whoever was driving — then politely asks Salaam, "Will you roll your back window, please?"

After peering into the rear of the vehicle to confirm there were no threats lurking behind the opaque glass, the officer approaches the driver's side window and identifies himself.

Salaam interrupts, noting he is "Councilmember Salaam. This district, District 9."

"Okay. Have a good one," responds the officer. "You're working, right? ... Take care, sir."

The NYPD confirmed in a statement that an officer operating in the 26th precinct pulled over a blue sedan with a Georgia license plate for driving with dark tint beyond legal limits, a violation of New York State law.

"As the video shows, throughout this interaction, the officer conducted himself professionally and respectfully," said the NYPD. "He followed all proper procedures, including procedures that were put in place after Detective Russel Timoshenko was shot and killed through tinted windows in 2007."

Police also made clear that contrary to Salaam's understanding, "Last night's exchange was not a Level 1 interaction, as any vehicle stop is, by definition, a Level 4 encounter since the officer had probable cause of a violation of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law."

Mayor Adams later lauded the officer for doing an exemplary job.

"We saw, really, a picture-perfect example how civilian and police officers responded. Professional, courteous, communicative," said Adams. "I think we need to be proud."


NYC Councilman Robert Holden (D) called on Salaam to resign as public safety chair, writing on X, "This is damning: an elected official with illegal tints and out-of-state plates, not legally registered, using his official title to evade the law. Worse yet, he lied about the exchange until NYPD set the record straight."

"The stop was not illegal," Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R) stated. "The stop was done by the book. What is illegal is the percentage of tinting on his windows, using your Council Member title to get out of a ticket and lying about the interaction."

"How can we expect him to be impartial as chair of the Public Safety Committee when he did not depict an accurate accounting of the event?" added Ariola.

Republican NYC Councilman Joe Borelli shared the bodycam footage, noting, "As you can see. Police stops are already recorded... What is sad is taking an incident where someone cuts you a break, does right by you, and then misrepresenting the truth to get them in trouble."

Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R) similarly took issue with Salaam's political weaponization of the apparent lie, writing, "What this experience amplifies is how [Salaam] lied, [is] potentially committing insurance fraud, using the race card, as well as using [his] status as Councilmember to evade the law."

"The officer did everything by the book, and was nothing but extra nice to you," continued Vernikov. "What he could have done is ticket you for tinted windows and driving over speed limit. The officer and @NYPDnews are entitled to a public apology from you."

The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York also called for Salaam to apologize.

PBA president Patrick Hendry said in a statement, "Facts matter, and the video doesn't just expose the lies about this incident. It shows the truth about the outstanding, professional work our members do every day. This Council member and every other elected official who baselessly smeared our police officers owe them an apology."

NewsNation indicated that Salaam has denied using his title to evade a ticket. The councilman also claimed in an interview that, despite moving back to New York in December 2022, he is still in the process of transferring the registration of his vehicle from Georgia to New York.

As for New York's prohibition on overly tinted windows, Salaam reportedly expressed ignorance, noting he would have addressed the issue had he known it was a problem.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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