Newburgh, NY – Newburgh City Councilman Omari Shakur launched into a profanity-laced tirade when a city police officer tried to speak with him about blocking traffic with his vehicle last week (video below).
Shakur, a convicted felon who spent years in prison and struggled with addiction prior to being elected to the city council in November of 2019, stopped his vehicle in the middle of Carpenter Avenue to talk on his cell phone on Feb. 18, according to the Times Herald-Record.
A Newburgh police officer happened to be behind him and the officer briefly honked his horn in an effort to get Shakur to move his SUV out of the roadway, the MidHudson News reported.
The councilman refused to move his SUV, then began arguing with the officer when he approached him.
A second officer responded to the scene as the situation escalated, bodycam footage showed.
“I sat behind him beeping my horn. He refused to move,” the initial officer explained.
The second officer told Shakur to simply hand over his license and registration so they could wrap up the stop and get everyone on their way.
“I’m not giving you nothing!” the councilman declared. “Then f–king arrest me!”
The officer calmly explained that Shakur had not committed an arrestable offense and that he simply needed to check his driver’s license.
“I’m sitting here taking care of official business,” Shakur interrupted, waving his cell phone around. “Get the f–k out my face… I’m sitting here talkin’ about some official business!”
“I’m you’re f–king boss!” he suddenly declared, pointing his finger at the initial officer. “Get the f–k outta here!”
Shakur then got back on his phone and began complaining to someone about being pulled over.
The councilman repeatedly refused to hand over his license and declared that the officer was “harassing” him, the video showed.
“I’m not giving you nothing! Arrest me!” he yelled. “Or get the f–k out my face.”
Shakur then dialed up someone on his phone again and told them to come pick up his vehicle, claiming that the police were about to arrest him.
“Nobody’s arresting you,” the initial officer pointed out. “You’re going to get a ticket, and that’s that.”
The city councilman then started to roll up his window, at which point the officer grabbed onto it and opened the driver’s side door.
Shakur called the officer a “punk -ss motherf–ker” and repeatedly argued that he hadn’t been blocking traffic.
He then threatened to drive away and told one officer he should “get ready” to draw his duty weapon, the video showed.
The officers repeatedly tried to calm Shakur down, but he still refused to cooperate.
“This is city business I was taking care of,” he told a supervisor who responded to the scene.
The supervisor then confirmed that Shakur was on the city council.
“Didn’t even know it was him,” the initial officer told another officer quietly, shaking his head.
As the supervisor and the initial officer stepped away from the suspect’s vehicle for a moment to discuss the situation, Shakur suddenly cranked up the music in his SUV and began dancing in his seat, the video showed.
“Fight the power! F–k the police!” he yelled out his window. “And I ain’t going to wait all day for this f–king ticket.”
Shakur later waved his middle finger in the air as motorists passed by.
“These are f–king pigs right now!” the councilman shouted. “These ain’t police. These are pigs.”
Shakur also likened the local police force to both the “Gestapo” and the “KKK,” and said he is tired of them coming through “his streets” wearing their “blue costumes” and “jumping outta cars with their fingers on the trigger, hoping they can shoot any…black n—-r ,” the video showed.
At one point during the stop, Shakur began yelling back and forth with people off-camera, telling them about what the “pigs” had done.
“This was official business I was on,” he told them. “This punk -ss motherf–ker behind me… ‘cause he’s got his little f–king badge, this mother–ker don’t know I’m his f–king boss!”
He also alleged that the officer who stopped him “has a history” of “harassing” him.
“I had a lawsuit against him,” Shakur said. “This is retribution… You see how long it take him to write a f–king ticket? Dumb motherf–ker. If he didn’t have a job here, he’d be somewhere milking cows, dumb stupid motherf–ker.”
When the officer brought Shakur his citation, the city councilman promptly sped off with it, nearly running over the officer’s foot, bodycam footage showed.
Newburgh City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Vice President Mike Loscerbo released a statement about the incident on Feb. 21, the MidHudson News reported.
“Raymond Bryant ‘Omari Shakur,’ is a true racist, a horrible human being and does not represent the great people of the City of Newburgh,” Loscerbo declared.
On Saturday, PBA President Derek Campbell said that the city is standing behind the Newburgh Police Department (NPD).
“To watch fellow officers be verbally abused by a politician, especially one from the very city they serve, is heartbreaking to say the least,” Campbell told the MidHudson News. “Our members work on a daily basis with the brave men and women of the City of Newburgh Police Department, who are among the most professional, hard-working and dedicated police officers.”
Campbell noted that Shakur “preaches hatred to the city youth,” as evidenced by his vulgar tirade during the traffic stop.
“This is not the first time he has done this to our officers; it is just the first time that it made it to the media,” the PBA president added.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus also denounced the city councilman’s actions.
“Elected officials are held to a higher standard and are supposed to conduct themselves as such,” Neuhaus told the MidHudson News. “The police video from the City of Newburgh is very disturbing. Police officers 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,” Neuhaus added.
In a statement on Saturday, Shakur said that he has asked the city to conduct an independent investigation into the incident, the Times Herald-Record reported.
He claimed that the officer who stopped him told him to be careful unless he wanted to “end up like [his] son,” 23-year-old Antonio Bryant, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in 2006, according to the Times Herald-Record.
Shakur alleged that the threat was made before the officer with the bodycam showed up, yet he made no reference to it during the entirety of the video.
“I want to apologize to the residents of our city for the way I responded in a recent police encounter,” he said in the statement. “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.”
“I believe that all people should be treated with respect and dignity, and that includes members of the police department,” Shakur continued. “That respect must be reciprocal. Though I was not afforded that respect, I should not have reacted in the manner that I did.”
On Sunday, Newburgh City Mayor Torrance Harvey announced that an outside organization will be investigating the incident. He commended the officers for their professional conduct during their interaction with Shakur.
“I support ALL of our City Police officers and commend them for showing patience and deference in the given circumstances, according to the video,” Harvey told the Times Herald-Record. “After speaking with our District Attorney for Orange County David Hoovler, our City Police Department did nothing wrong, according to his investigation, and I stand in agreement with him.”
Harvey said that Shakur’s behavior was both “unprofessional [and] unacceptable,” WNBC reported.
“No one, whether you’re an elected official or not, should speak to any law enforcement officer in that regard,” the mayor added.
Shakur, 63, served six years in prison after being convicted of a first-degree assault in 1987, according to the Times Herald-Record.
When he was released from prison, he returned to drug abuse and spent another brief period in jail before he turned his attention to being an activist.
According to police, Shakur’s son was fatally shot after he opened fire on Newburgh police after a pursuit.
But Shakur claimed that his son’s death was connected to the protests Shakur was leading against the NPD at the time.
“I didn’t see it as a coincidence,” he told the Times-Herald Record in January. “I was protesting, I was angry, until I realized that I couldn’t bring my baby back.”
He made unsuccessful runs for county legislator in 2009 and 2017, and also lost the mayoral race in 2015.
In January, Shakur said that his relationship with the NPD is “definitely getting better,” the Times Herald-Record reported.
Watch a short clip of Shakur’s 25-minute tirade in the video below: