Thursday, July 24, 2008
Rally Planned As Police Investigate Possible NYPD Racism In Harlem
Harlem community leaders are planning a rally this afternoon as the NYPD investigates charges of misconduct involving two white police officers.
Witnesses say two white police officers drove through the neighborhood with the head of a black doll on the antenna of their unmarked car.
Police are probing the incident, which some local leaders are calling an act of racism.
State Senator Bill Perkins reported the incident to police Tuesday, after he says outraged residents complained to him after seeing the car driving through the neighborhood. Perkins says a witness tried to take a picture of the doll, but a plainclothes officer took it off the antenna and put it in the trunk.
"They approached the car and asked why they had a black baby doll head on the top of their car. The guys laughed it off and disposed it inside they trunk," said witness Desiree Murray. "Then after that, that's when all the commotion came about. You know, the community was very upset, because we do have to live here."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, however, said the policemen did not put the doll head on the car.
"They didn't know it was. They had no knowledge of it,” said Kelly. "The car pulls up in front of a restaurant, in which there was some type of opening celebration. Someone points out to this officer – and he had been at the club before, no one saw any doll head on the car – pointed out to him that this doll head is on the antenna. He sees it, takes it and throws it away."
Kelly says there could be grounds for an Internal Affairs probe of the incident. He says police are looking at surveillance video to see if it can be determined who put the doll head on the antenna.
An afternoon rally is planned at Marcus Garvey Park to call attention to the incident.