Jimmy Findley who owns Diamond Cuts Barber Shop on Rutland Road in Brooklyn is today walking with his arm in a sling courtesy of The New York Police Department (NYPD).
It will be another month before he can take off the sling. He says that he is just the latest of several Black business owners who have been harassed by a crew of police officers from Brooklyn’s 71st Precinct known in the community as “The Quality of Life Squad.“
This crew is led by an officer named Parkinson. Over the last few years Parkinson has allegedly led forays into the Black businesses in the Flatbush area, examining licenses, looking in sinks and behind counters and questioning customers. Dr. Kuts Barbershop on Flatbush, Errol’s Bakery on Hawthorne, Sassy Scissors Beauty Shop on Flatbush, and Jimmy’s Barbershop on Rutland Road are just a few of the shops these cops have allegedly harassed. On more than one occasion when an owner or operator has protested they have found themselves beaten, arrested. or issued a summons.
Jimmy Findley says after he complained about repeated raids of his shop, which had yielded nothing, Parkinson and his Quality of Life Squad caught him on the street a couple of blocks from his shop and took retribution one day, towards the end of July. “I was carrying an empty cup of ice and they asked me for ID,” Findley recalls, adding that he found the request confusing since Parkinson knew him well. “I said officer Parkinson what do you want my ID for?”
Findley says he was rewarded with a poke on the chest by a White officer. “I said ‘why are you assaulting me?’ and a White cop with Parkinson twisted my arm behind my back until it snapped. They arrested me but would not tell me what they arrested me for or why they break my arm,” he says. Three officers were involved in the incident.
The arm was broken at the elbow; he can’t outstretch the arm and he’s in pain. Findley believes his question to Parkinson, on the face of it, certainly did not seem unreasonable. After all, why would officer Parkinson need his ID when he already knew his name? Parkinson and crew had already, in one visit to Findley’s shop, given him a summons for having an empty alcohol bottle in his barbershop sink.
Findley says the judge threw the ridiculous summons out; but his name was still on it and other court documents available to Parkinson. On another occasion Parkinson and his crew had demanded to see Findley’s Barber’s license, he says; his name was also on that. Even if Parkinson didn’t know Findley’s name from those two documents, his name was on the subsequent formal complaint he made to NYPD Internal Affairs, regarding the harassment by Parkinson and crew. Didn’t Parkinson know Findley’s ID from those documents?
Officer Parkinson’s subsequent actions show that he did, indeed, know Findley’s name from that complaint. On the early morning of July 27, when Findley’s wife came to the 71 precinct to obtain information about charges against him, officer Parkinson instead spoke about the complaints Findley had made to Internal Affairs. “I didn’t ask you anything about that,” Mrs. Findley recalls telling Parkinson.
Yet, from Parkinson’s perspective, Findley had committed a double crime in that he had filed formal complaints against Parkinson to both State Senator Eric Adams, who himself is a former police officer, and the NYPD Internal Affairs regarding officer Parkinson’s earlier incidents of alleged harassment.
It was only later in Court that Findley learned of the charges against him for the first time, he says. Apparently from the perspective of the “Quality of Life Squad,” it’s against the law to walk the streets with an open container that might possibly contain alcohol, even an empty open container of ice, such as the one Findley says he was carrying on the day of the incident. Findley says that the container charge was thrown out as soon as the Judge saw it. However, the police charged him with resisting arrest. Findley’s Legal Aid Attorney obtained what he thought was a “dismissal” from the Judge, but in actuality it was an ACD, or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. It’s supposed to mean that if the defendant doesn’t get into trouble in the next six months the charge will be automatically dismissed. However, in Findley’s case, with Parkinson and Crew apparently on the hunt for him, there is no telling what it really means in his case.
New York City Councilman Charles Barron, who represents Brooklyn’s 42nd council district, weighed in on Findley’s ordeal: “It is obvious and safe to say that a person should be able to walk down the street with a cup of ice in their own neighborhood. But it is for certain that no police stop for walking with an open container should ever end up with the police breaking a person’s arm.”
Jimmy Findley is a well respected member of the community who for years has operated a clean single-chair shop. Now he can’t even cut hair to earn a living. Instead of improving the quality of life, the Quality of Life Squad has made one bread-winner unemployed. This is an example of the negative impact the Squad is having on the quality of life of Black People and Black-owned businesses in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Officers at the 71 precinct wouldn’t provide information about the incident.