Sagging Pants, Right? Black NYPD Chief Gets Stopped And Frisked
Hey folks, can we finally admit that NYPD’s ridiculously awful and patently unconstitutional “Stop & Frisk” program is not just racial profiling, but racist profiling when an off-duty black police chief gets harassed by a couple of white cops?
Chief Douglas Zeigler, 60, head of the Community Affairs Bureau, was in his NYPD-issued vehicle near a fire hydrant when two plainclothes cops approached on May 2, sources said.
One officer walked up on each side of the SUV at 57th Ave. and Xenia St. in Corona about 7 p.m. and told the driver to roll down the heavily tinted windows, sources said.
What happened next is in dispute.
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.
To recap, Zeigler is a three-star police chief, one of the highest ranking officers in the NYPD. His mistake was that he was off-duty and black. When he showed his identification badge, the cops who ordered him out of his SUV didn’t believe who he was. The defense of the two white plainclothes officers who approached Zeigler was that they saw a gun in the SUV and only then ordered Zeigler out of his vehicle at gunpoint. Apparently one of the cops then got into an argument over Zeigler’s ID badge.
The cop in question has currently been suspended, but the larger issue of course is “If a three-star NYPD chief is subject to stop and frisk, any person of color is pretty much screwed.” If the two plainclothes cops really did draw on Zeigler, he’s lucky he’s not dead, extremely lucky. What about Zeigler’s demeanor made him a suspect? The two plainclothes cops swear it was a gun in the SUV, ostensibly Zeigler’s sidearm, but nothing in my experience as a black male makes me think that’s the truth.
Because to me, this looks like two white cops harassing a black man in an SUV. Was it his sagging pants? Was he wearing a hoodie? Maybe it was his assumed lack of parentage. Surely a black man in an SUV has to be suspicious of some illegal activity, it’s not like we end up three-star police chiefs in the NYPD or anything completely bonkers like that. And of course when he produced the ID, the cop didn’t believe him. This guy’s an off-duty three-star chief? But he’s black.
Now maybe I’m just being totally optimistic here, but maybe this incident will be the final catalyst necessary to get Bloomberg and his clown show of a police department to drop this nonsense before somebody gets the idea that Chief Zeigler might have a federal civil rights complaint on his hands. Maybe the ridiculousness of having one of their own bagged by the program (and this happened in early May 2008, we’re just now hearing about it some five years later) will embarrass the NYPD enough that they start to reconsider this odious practice.
Or maybe I’m just an optimist. I sure as hell don’t feel like visiting the Big Apple anytime soon, even though my parents grew up there and I’ve been there several times. It just isn’t worth the risk. If anyone short of President Obama is going to find a pair of NYPD’s Finest all up in their faces in 2013 NYC, fahgeddaboutit.
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