Mayor condemns councilman’s “unprofessional and inappropriate” language toward police

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Omar Shakur addresses the city council as a citizen before he was elected (file)

NEWBURGH – Mayor Torrance Harvey, Sunday, issued an open letter to the community condemning Newburgh Councilman-at-Large Omari Shakur’s “unprofessional and inappropriate” language he directed toward police officers during an interaction with them last week.

Shakur was in an SUV stopped in the middle of Carpenter Avenue while on a cell phone and when an officer pulled up behind him and beeped his horn, Shakur did not move. The officer exited his police car to talk to the driver and that is when he realized it was the councilman.

He asked Shakur for his driver’s license and the freshman lawmaker went off on the officer, using extremely vile language while the officer and others who approached maintained calm and professionalism.

“We do not tolerate or accept ANYONE speaking to our police officers in that manner: our police officers work diligently day to day to protect our city!” The mayor said he supports “ALL of our city police officers and commend(s) them for showing patience and deference in the given circumstances according to the video.”

And he said after speaking with Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, “our city police department did nothing wrong, according to his investigation, and I stand in agreement with him.”

The mayor said officials do not know how the body-cam video was leaked to the press while under investigation “but that matter will be handled by the Newburgh Police Chief and our legal department and our city manager collectively.”

Harvey said he hopes “we can use this experience to come together as a community and heal in an appropriate manner,” and he said the city council executive staff are unified in bringing the city together over this situation. “Everyone must be held accountable for their actions at all times. We have a standard to uphold as leaders in our community at large. We will celebrate our diversity.”