A video posted by a pair of Youtube pranksters claiming to prove racial profiling by the New York City Police Department appears to be a prank.
However, dozens of commenters are voicing their skepticism on the video as well as in the articles.
I’ve watched the video several times and I am agreeing with those skeptics as well as many of us on the PINAC staff. The video, posted Sunday by TrueStoryASA, has so far generated more than 94,000 views.
For starters, the cop’s face is blurred out when the whole point of the video was to expose the NYPD for racial profiling.
The cop also turns his back on one of the men while he pushes and frisks another man against a wall, something we know they are trained never to do. In fact, they usually display levels of paranoid hysteria if you step within ten feet of them.
But in this case, the other man is allowed to linger directly behind the cop without the cop fearing for his life.
The video begins by showing Adam Saleh and Sheikh Akbar walking by the cop in Americanized street clothes having an argument where they begin pushing and shoving, only for the cop to ignore them.
Then they walk by the same cop 20 minutes later dressed in traditional Muslim clothing and the cop suddenly decides to harass them, even asking them, “why are you dressed like this?”
He then proceeds to harass them without calling for backup.
The pranksters don’t come out and say the video was real, but they don’t come out and say it was a prank either.
“What you just saw is what we always go through when we’re filming with our cultural clothing on,” one of them explains towards the end of the video.
So perhaps their so-called “racial profiling experiment” is really a social media experiment to see who falls for it.
That doesn’t mean there is no racial profiling within the NYPD. That’s long been proven.
UPDATE: The Smoking Gun confirms the video was staged.
10/21 UPDATE: In an interview yesterday with Capital New York, a spokesperson for Saleh and Akbar claimed that he had “behind the scene footage” proving that the profiling episode was not faked. Asked for additional details, the flack told reporter Azi Paybarah, “We can’t give out details for follow ups–it breaches confidentiality.”
However, despite that shaky assurance, the videographers copped to their perfidy (albeit sneakily) after TSG exposed their hoax this morning. They edited the video’s YouTube description to report that the clip was a “Dramatization of previous events that occurred with us in our tradition clothing while filming in NYC. This video is not against the NYPD.” The video’s original description claimed that Saleh and Akbar were prompted to expose the NYPD after “we kept getting followed by Police. So we decided to film this social experiment on racial profiling.” The duo added that, “Too many innocent people get stopped and frisked” daily due to their clothing and skin color.