THEY DON’T EVEN LIVE HERE
So began the latest tirade by Newburgh City Councilman, Omari Shakur this week. He continued railing about a small fleet of police, both local and State, as they stopped to investigate a tip at the Shell Station at Broadway and Lake Streets. Shakur continued as a crowd assembled and listened to his charges that “The Occupiers are back in your community. They are supposed to be here to serve and protect. They’re supposed to be here taking care of us. Instead they follow and interrogate us. In the middle of a coronavirus this is what they are told to do. They come in here and put guns to our kids instead of helping the people who need protection. These are not police. They are Occupiers of our community. That guy there! He’s the head killer (referring to an officer), and they are not from your community.”
Not the first time, Shakur has at other times patrolled through the streets of Newburgh videotaping what he thought were questionable traffic stops and sharing them through social media. In February he taped another rant at a traffic stop. In March Shakur questioned a confrontation between City Police and a young man who he claimed was unarmed, or had tried to put his hands up in surrender. The young man’s gun went off injuring 2 officers and he died after return shots. The incident ended up with a nightlong rowdy crowd with bottles thrown, and a fire started in the middle of the street that required city and county officials as well as a SWAT team to calm things down.
The County’s District Attorney, David Hoovler released video of how the events transpired the following day and this resulted in Shakur’s censure by the Newburgh City Council. Despite a petition to have him removed from his office, Shakur was allowed to remain in office pending investigation. Shakur’s series of outbursts is apparently related to a police chase and confrontation in 2006 between Shakur’s son, Antonio Bryant, during which he was killed, with police allegedly returning fire. Many in the Newburgh community have supported him during his challenges with grief, but others have said “Enough is enough”, this is inciting the people to violence.
Local officials say that removal of a city official from is rare, requiring extreme circumstances, and would have to be done by Governor Andrew Cuomo.