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Video: NY councilman berates, threatens officers

During the incident, Newburgh City Councilman-at-Large Omari Shakur told an officer, ‘I’m your f***king boss’


By Lana Bellamy
The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.

CITY OF NEWBURGH, N.Y. – Newburgh city police unions on Friday accused City Councilman-at-Large Omari Shakur of making threats and using “abusive” and vulgar language toward a police detective and another officer during an incident Tuesday.

The Police Superior Officers Association, a union for high-ranking Newburgh officers, said in a statement that Shakur told a detective, “I’m your (expletive) boss,” and threatened to run over another uniformed officer, telling him to “pull your gun out (expletive) ‘cause I’m getting ready to go at you.”

Shakur, elected to his council position in November, said Friday night the detective told him to be careful or Shakur will “end up like your son.”

Shakur’s 23-year-old son, Antonio “Tony” Bryant, was shot and killed by city police during an incident in 2006 that has served as a flash point for tension between Shakur and city police officers.

Shakur said police were trying to intimidate him during the 45-minute-long incident.

He said the detective on-scene sent him over the edge by bringing up his son’s death after he was pulled over for impeding traffic on Carpenter Avenue while visiting a constituent Tuesday morning.

Shakur said the detective in question was not wearing a body camera and that the statement about his son was made before other officers approached and filmed the incident.

“If I threatened an officer, then why wasn’t I ticketed? Why wasn’t I arrested?” Shakur said.

Shakur said he was only ticketed for parking on pavement.

Efforts to reach city police Chief Doug Solomon were unsuccessful Friday.

Police Benevolent Association President Ricardo Rivera said the incident occurred after a city police detective was driving on Carpenter Avenue and saw a vehicle parked in the roadway in the opposite lane of traffic.

The officer blew his car horn to try to get the driver to move into one of the several open parking spots in the area, Rivera said.

When the car didn’t move, the detective exited his vehicle and approached the driver, who was Shakur, Rivera said.

That’s when the altercation between Shakur and the police broke out, Rivera said.

The incident was captured on body cameras worn by the officers, police said.

Mayor Torrance Harvey said Friday afternoon he was called but was not present and therefore does not have all the facts he needs to comment on what happened.

“This incident is terribly unfortunate and is under investigation,” Harvey said. “That’s all I have to say right now.”

City staff have contacted an outside agency from Long Island to investigate, according to Harvey and Rivera.

Harvey said the agency looks into allegations of misconduct by elected officials and law enforcement.

PSOA President Lt. Kevin Lahar said the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the incident.

Rivera said the PSOA’s lengthy statement issued Friday afternoon can speak on behalf of the PBA.

The statement says, in part, “These actions by an elected official, directed toward police officers are an example of the exact type of immoral, unethical and divisive behaviors that can never be tolerated. ... We hold our police officers and elected officials to the highest standards and this is a prime example of gross deviation from what the residents and employees of the City of Newburgh expect from their elected officials.

“Councilman Shakur has repeatedly engaged in conduct that undermines the very fabric of our democracy and has endangered the lives of City of Newburgh police officers, as well as other first responders that serve our community.”