Notorious cop-bashing City Councilman Yusef Salaam was a traffic scofflaw long before a young police officer pulled him over last week for driving with overly tinted windows.
The cop ultimately cut the pol a break that many critics don’t believe he deserved.
The Manhattan Democrat has racked up five tickets over the past year totaling $285 in fines and late fees — including one for speeding in a school zone and another for blocking a bus lane, according to city records.
The Harlem resident was also potentially committing insurance fraud and breaking other laws for more than a year as he drove around with Georgia plates on his luxury BMW Alpina B7, critics said.
Under New York law, car owners must register their vehicles with the state and revise their residency with their insurer within 30 days of relocating here.
Salaam, one of the exonerated “Central Park Five,” moved to NYC from Georgia at least 16 months ago to run for elected office. He registered to vote in New York on July 27, 2022, according to Board of Elections records.
“He’s basically been stealing from the [state] and shorting his insurance,” fumed an NYPD source. “If you’re living in New York City and you have out-of-state plates, you’re not paying the premium that you should be paying on your insurance.
“They should be contacting his insurance company and getting him for insurance fraud,” said the source. “How do you not know the rules and regulations if you’ve been councilman in New York City for two years? ”
The officer who stopped the lawmaker, whose name is being withheld by The Post, has a spotless record — and no civilian complaints — in two years on the job.
When the officer asked Salaam to roll down his tinted windows the night of Jan. 26 in Harlem, the pol, who was accompanied by his family, identified himself as a councilman and questioned why he was stopped.
Rather than respond, the cop opted to drop the matter, telling Salaam, “Take care, sir,” before walking away — with the entire encounter captured on body-camera video.
The stop stirred a citywide debate with Salaam and many of his supporters questioning whether it was racially motivated.
They also insisted it was a key example of why the City Council needed to override Mayor Adams’ veto of a controversial bill requiring cops to document all encounters with the public.
It’s “concerning” that Salaam, chairman of the Council’s powerful public safety committee is “undermining public safety by flouting traffic laws,” said Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens), who doubled down on an earlier demand that he give up the post.
“This hypocrisy discredits his stance against law enforcement, leaving us questioning how we can trust him to rightfully serve New Yorkers,” he told The Post.
During a Council meeting Tuesday where a vast majority of members voted to override Adams’ vetoes of a pair of law-enforcement reform bills, a teary-eyed Salaam openly suggested he and other four other teenagers of color wouldn’t have been convicted in the 1989 rape of a Central Park jogger if the “How Many Stops Act” was then on the books.
“If these laws were in place in 1989,” said Salaam, before stopping mid-sentence, shaking his head and visibly choking up.
He then emphatically banged on his desk twice and pronounced, “I vote aye.”
It’s mind-boggling for Salaam to imply the How Many Stops Act would’ve had any impact on his arrest, said retired NYPD Detective Michael Alcazar, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“I don’t think he has a complete understanding of what the ‘How Many Stops’ bill entails,” Alcazar said. “If this bill existed in 1989, it still wouldn’t prevent him from being stopped by the police and investigated given the scenario or situation he was in.”
“I think where he’s getting confused is if the police had a right to stop and question him, which … they had every right,” Alcazar added.
The bill will lead to increased paperwork that would drown cops in paperwork, police, the mayor and other opponents have contended.
The mayor has praised the traffic stop of Salaam as a “picture-perfect example” of a courteous police response and the officer for using “discretion” and not writing a ticket.
New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry similarly applauded the officer along with his partner for performing Salaam’s traffic stop “by the book.”
“They used courtesy and appropriate discretion to handle the situation professionally, just as cops across this city do thousands of times each day,” he said. “This incident should not have been turned into a political football.”
The officer declined comment. Salaam and the NYPD did not respond to request for comment.