Omari Shakur Goes Off On Police During Traffic Stop

NEWBURGH – City of Newburgh Police and Omari Shakur are once again in a battle. The most recent incident occurred on Tuesday, February 18. That’s when an unmarked police vehicle traveling on Carpenter Avenue came upon a stopped SUV that Shakur was driving, in the middle of the road.

According to video and published reports, the detective beeped his car horn, in an attempt to have the vehicle move from the traveling lane to an open parking spot, but was ignored. The detective then approached the vehicle to learn it was Shakur, a councilmember.

When the detective requests to see Shakur’s driver’s license, Shakur refuses. The situation quickly escalates into a firestorm of cursing by Shakur at the officers, telling them to “give me a f**king ticket or f**king arrest me.”

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said of the incident, “The police video from the City of Newburgh is very disturbing. Police officer’s don’t work for one man or one woman, they work for the people. Law enforcement is a dangerous profession as it is and officials need to set the example by showing them respect and support.”

Shakur on Saturday, and again during Monday nights council meeting, apologized to city residents for the way he responded in last week’s encounter with city police officers. “The reaction displayed is not who I am and I fell short of the love that I feel amongst my constituents in Newburgh and of the leadership I want to represent.”

In an open letter to the community, he said since he became a councilman, “I have made it a priority to extend an olive branch to the police department and have met regularly with the police chief so we can continue to improve community and police relations.”

He said “all people should be treated with respect and dignity, and that includes members of the police department. That respect must be reciprocal. Though I was not afforded that respect, I should not have reacted in the manner that I did.”

Shakur asked for an independent investigation of the incident “so that the full facts can come to light.”

The freshman councilman said he is “working on doing better and will need the love and support of the community. “I look forward to continuing to repair the gap between the police department and the community.”

Shakur said the video “does not capture the entire incident.” He said there were about 15 minutes of unrecorded interaction with an undercover police officer “during which I was subjected to direct and personal harassment that were deeply disrespectful to me, my deceased son and my family. It was particularly painful to be treated this way while I was engaged in a discussion with a constituent around a particular set of challenges that we were trying to resolve.”

Mayor Torrance Harvey, Sunday, issued an open letter to the community condemning Newburgh Council-at-Large Omari Shakur’s “unprofessional and inappropriate” language he directed toward police officers.

“We do not tolerate or accept anyone speaking to our police officers in that manner: our police officers work diligently day to day to protect our city!”

Harvey said he hopes, “we can use this experience to come together as a community and heal in an appropriate manner,” and he said the city council executive staff are unified in bringing the city together over this situation. “Everyone must be held accountable for their actions at all times. We have a standard to uphold as leaders in our community at large. We will celebrate our diversity.”

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