Update below

Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake has filed a complaint against the cop who slammed him against a gate when he tried to defuse a confrontation over the weekend. Blake said he was at a family event in the Gouverneur Morris Houses in Claremont on Sunday afternoon when he saw a woman in handcuffs. He told the New York Times that he walked over to the officers to talk over the situation, then heard an argument behind him. As he rushed toward the dispute, between an officer and a man and a woman, another cop grabbed him, lifted him off the ground, and slammed him against a gate, according to Blake and the NYPD.

"The tensions were rising," the freshman legislator told the Daily News. "I ran over to calm the situation down. The officer decided to bear-hug me. He grabbed me and pinned me to the gate behind me."

Police claim that Blake grabbed the shoulder of the officer who was arguing with the two civilians. Blake told reporters that he doesn't recall doing that, but if he had, he told the Times, "in the heat of the second, that didn’t justify what happened."

Police reps said that the officers were responding to a dispute between neighbors, and that the officer who went UFC on Blake sensed "a possible threat to the sergeant."

A senior officer on the scene recognized Blake after he'd been picked up and ordered the cop holding him to let him go. According to Blake, the captain apologized, but said, "if the situation presented itself, he would do the same thing again."

Blake is African-American and the officer who laid hands on him is, he said, Hispanic. Blake believes race definitely influenced the officer's decision to go from 0 to 100 with him, he told the Times.

"I can appreciate from the officer’s perspective that if they perceive someone is a threat to their fellow officer, regardless of race, they would act out in some way," he said. "But I do believe that the level of response was far heightened because I’m a black man—no question."

"It’s difficult going back to the community and trying to [bring] peace and understanding between the community and the police when your community is seeing what's happening even to elected officials,” Blake said at a press conference today outside One Police Plaza, adding, “You don’t understand what it’s like to be an elected official, who is well known in the neighborhood and for police not to recognize you."

"The only reason this situation did not get worse is because I am a recognizable elected official and fortunately at that moment two other officers recognized who I was," Blake said.

A police spokesperson said in a statement, "The NYPD has been made aware of Mr. Blake’s allegations and will be conducting a review of the incident. Any complaints regarding this incident will be thoroughly investigated."

Blake said that Mayor Bill de Blasio has called him to apologize. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, on the other hand, told reporters, "There will be no apology forthcoming from me, but we’ll see where the investigation goes."

This isn't the first time an African-American official has been roughly handled by NYPD cops. In 2012, cops shoved Councilman Jumaane Williams and hit him with a baton as he tried to observe an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Zuccotti Park. The year prior, officers briefly cuffed Williams and Kirsten John Foy, at the time an aide to then-public advocate Bill de Blasio, after they tried to pass through a security checkpoint at the West Indian Day Parade with the appropriate credentials.

For a brief period of time after the parade incident, NYPD officials maintained that one of the two had punched an officer. No charges were ever filed.

Some rank-and-file black NYPD officers have also complained of being subjected to racial profiling while off-duty. They described baseless stops, rough treatment, and having guns pulled on them by fellow officers.

Update 4:25 p.m.:

In a statement, NYCLU director Donna Lieberman connected the treatment of Blake to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's recent unilateral decision to shelve a pair of police reform bills with broad Council support just before they were set to be voted on. The bills, known together as the Right to Know Act, would require officers to get recorded or signed consent before searching people's homes or cars when they lack a warrant or probable cause, to report quarterly on such searches, and to identify themselves by name and explain their reasons for stops. For stops that didn't end in arrest, they would have to hand out cards including contact information for the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Lieberman's statement:

Five years after the arrest of City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, New Yorkers are once again shocked by the NYPD’s use of force against another black public figure, Assemblyman Michael Blake. The officers involved in the use of excessive force against Assemblyman Blake must be held accountable. But for the sake of the countless black New Yorkers whose experiences with NYPD excessive force go unreported, we need to do more to end the toxic policing culture in New York City. The City Council should enact the Right to Know Act - which will help create a culture of de-escalation and respect for New Yorkers of all races in all communities. Officers need meaningful training on de-escalation and racial bias that should be part of their evaluations, and every use of force should be transparent to the public. If New York City values and respects black lives, change must come from the top and reforms must be undertaken immediately.