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Shocking postings about Parkway parade

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Shocking postings about Parkway parade

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NEW YORK – The Trinidadian-born president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s (WIADCA) parade says she is “truly” disappointed but not surprised by what has been described as racist postings on the social network, Facebook, by some members of the New York Police Department (NYPD). “Hearing and reading about these remarks made by NYPD officers – ‘animals, savages, bomb them’ – was truly disappointing, however, not surprising,” said Yolanda Lezama Clark here yesterday. “While these are the views of many, I am sure that does not reflect all of the administration.  These are gross, irresponsible descriptions that undermine the mission and purpose of the event,” she added. The NYPD said it has matched 20 “offensive” postings on Facebook about the West Indian Day Carnival Parade with names of police officers.Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the officers now face questioning by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau over the comments.  “It is disturbing when anyone denigrates a community with hateful speech,” he said. “It is unacceptable when police officers do it.” Though the officers may claim their comments are covered by their First Amendment right to free speech, Kelly said the NYPD “reserves the right to discipline behavior it determines to be unbecoming of a police officer or detrimental to the service, especially when it is disrespectful of communities that officers have taken an oath to protect”. He said the NYPD’s Internal Affairs detectives have begun questioning the officers and will subpoena computer records “where necessary”. The annual parade along Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn is New York City’s biggest, drawing more than three million spectators a year. A large number of politicians and officials have expressed outrage over the postings by some police officers after being assigned to work at the parade in Brooklyn on Labour Day, September 5.  Last week, the New York Times reported that officers maligned paradegoers at the annual event, calling them “animals” and “savages,” among other names. Some officials have called for an investigation by an independent agency rather than the NYPD’s own Internal Affairs Bureau. The WIADCA parade president said “any culture of police officers’ contempt for New York’s Black and Brown communities either real or symbolic cannot be tolerated.”She called on New York elected officials and leaders of communities to support WIADCA’s efforts to end “any and all police contempt towards members of our communities.”“We call on Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and Bill DeBlasio (public advocate) for an immediate meeting to assist us in rooting out all volatile racist behaviours and attitudes from members of our NYPD force,” Clarke said. (CMC)