At least one cop has been disciplined for ordering the NYPD's highest-ranking uniformed black officer out of his city-issued vehicle while parked in Queens, the New York Daily News reports. The off-duty, three-star chief was not charged with breaking any law.
"How you can not know or recognize a chief in a department SUV with ID around his neck, I don't know," a police source said, according to the Daily News.
The incident occurred last May 2 at about 7 p.m., as Chief Douglas Zeigler, 60, head of the Community Affairs Bureau, sat in his vehicle near a fire hydrant. Two plainclothes cops approached, one on each side of the SUV
One officer ordered the driver to roll down the heavily tinted windows.
After ordering Zeigler out of his vehicle, the two white cops simply did not believe — refused to accept — the validity of the NYPD-issued identification hanging from Zeigler's neck.
Of course, the two cops offered a radically different version of these events.
They said that they saw Zeigler's service weapon through the already rolled-down window. One of them then yelled "Gun!"
Then both cops pulled their own guns, aimed them at the driver, and ordered him out of the car.
As per the cops, instead of identifying himself as a member of the NYPD, Zeigler shouted, "Don't you know who I am?" according to the Daily News.
One of the officers said that as he tried to inspect the chief's ID, Zeigler pushed him back.
It was only then that Zeigler identified himself as an NYPD officer – including his name and rank.
Zeigler reportedly told Kelly that the officers never yelled "Gun!"
In fact, one of the officers engaged in a heated argument with the chief even after examining his ID.
That cop has been relieved of his gun and badge and placed on “modified” duty — with pay, of course. The status of the second officer was unclear.
Zeigler has headed the Community Affairs Bureau since January 2006. His wife, Neldra Zeigler, is NYPD deputy commissioner for equal employment opportunity.
Can you hear me now?
Perhaps the better question is this: Does this latest incident help you appreciate that white racism and white supremacy are embedded in the DNA, the very heart of this nation-state's “criminal justice system”?
Does this incident provide you a glimpse into the reason that this nation-state's jails and prisons are over-flowing with black and brown men who are guilty of nothing more than being black and brown?
If a 60-year-old black police chief can be “racially profiled” while sitting peacefully in his city-issued vehicle, what chance does a 20-year-old black guy have of making it to his 21st birthday without a serious run-in with New York's Finest?
And there is also this: If, as one of the white cops said, Zeigler actually pushed him away from him, does anybody really believe that Zeigler would be alive today to tell his side of this story?
This has been going on since black people arrived in this country. Education does not matter. Money does not matter. Age does not matter. Your job as a police officer does not matter.
The only thing that matters is the color of your skin. If it is the “wrong” color; if is the "suspect" color, then it and you fit the profile.
One more time: The saddest irony — Zeigler is Chief of the NYPD's Community Relations Bureau and his wife is NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Equal Opportunity.
Herbert Dyer, Jr. is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.