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Gun violence, pol's arrest disrupt West Indian Day Parade


amny Photo Credit: Revelers dance during the West Indian-American Day Parade September 5, 2011/Getty

A burst of gun violence and a city councilman's arrest after a clash with cops yesterday cast a pall over the usually festive West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn.

As the massive Labor Day march wound through Crown Heights, two men were shot on Eastern Parkway near Rochester Avenue about 2:30 p.m. and rushed to King County Hospital, where police said last night one remained in critical condition and the other in stable.

Police think both men were shot by the same person, who was still at large. A third man was reportedly shot about 5 p.m. on Eastern Parkway near Rogers Avenue.

Around noon, cops arrested a man for firing a gun into the air, but police didn't have further details on the case.

The parade, in its 44th year, has been rocked by violence in previous years. Fatal shootings in 2003 and 2005 prompted an increased police presence.

A scuffle with police also set off a political storm. About 1:30 p.m., City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) got into a struggle with police as he tried to exit the parade, and he was arrested on the scene, along with a staff member of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. No charges were filed.

De Blasio blasted the NYPD and called for a probe into the incident.

"I am very concerned that the officers escalated this situation needlessly, even as two public servants were trying to show identification," de Blasio said in a statement. "I am calling for an investigation to get to the bottom of any police misconduct that occurred."

Williams was stopped by police as he made his way out of the parade, along with de Blasio's staff member and a group of supporters and other government officials, the Daily News reported. The group reportedly had permission to walk where they were stopped, but Williams' spokesman told the paper that the police were "not listening" and that the "speech got a bit disrespectful."

Williams is expected to address the arrest at a news conference today, The New York Times reported. Police said the incident is under investigation.

The parade, which draws crowds in the millions, celebrates the heritage of people of West Indian origin through traditional songs, dancing and ornate costumes.


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