Profiled: Chief Zeigler treated like a regular Joe

Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.

Asked about speculation that there is a video of the confrontation, Browne responded, "I'm unaware of any video of the incident."

Almost exasperated by the audacity of the reality, Adams continued, "The highest ranking Black in the Police Department was stopped by white officers at gunpoint. They are taking their lead from the top," he said of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's administration. That office, he stated, is saying to the rank and file, "'Don't worry about the concerns of Sharpton, Adams, Barron or Perkins. Ignore them, we know what's best for them.'

"Our kids are collateral damage. There is no consideration; whether it is when they tried to stop Rev. Calvin Butts or drawing a weapon on Chief Zeigler. Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg are saying, 'You want safer streets--this is part of it.' This is basically them saying to the cops, 'We don't want to know how it's done, just do it.' At least back in the '60s the Justice Department would step in."

The community has a responsibility to force police department officers to be accountable. "Everyone wants to ignore what's going on," said the Brooklyn state representative.

In the wake of Monday's Congressional delegation hearings regarding the acquittal of detectives Mike Olive, Gescard Isnora and Michael Cooper in the Sean Bell 50 police-bullet case, he said, "We need to use this as a spring board. Instead of hearings, a community group can call a forum. We need a Congressional delegation to use their subpoena powers and hold major meetings across the nation to call in police commissioners and chiefs and send a strong message to police departments that they are not run by the police: they are answerable to the people. But people don't want to know," Adams said, chastising communities for dwelling in blissful ignorance.

As for his proposed legislation to have a special prosecutor and that defendant cops be judged at a higher standard in the wake of the Sean Bell trial and verdict, Adams said that his office is working at it stringently. "We want it to be strong and right when we come out, so we'll be looking at in the next couple of days."

Perhaps ironically, Zeigler's wife, Neldra Zeigler, is the NYPD's deputy commissioner for equal employment opportunity.

"Chief Zeigler suffered the same indignity that hundreds of thousands of innocent Black people have faced for years," retired detective Marq Claxton noted. "Although his rank couldn't spare him the threat and harassment, it did provide him some minimal recourse. His experience only serves to validate the fact that too many police officers believe that their responsibility is to stop, question and/or frisk Blacks and Latinos anywhere at any time for little or no reason. Under Police Commissioner Kelly, it is an encouraged and accepted operational practice to routinely and indiscriminately disregard constitutional protections for Blacks and Latinos. Based on the recently released Stop and Frisk numbers Blacks can expect to be targeted at record numbers; hopefully these stops won't result in anymore Sean Bell-type incidents."