October 12, 2011
March on City Hall Calls for End to ‘Stop and Frisk’
With a chorus of plastic drumbeats, solidarity chants and fluttering flags, more than 400 protesters made a pilgrimage across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Park in Manhattan.
One marcher held a giant paper hand with this inscription: “N.Y.P.D. Keep Your Hands Off Me.”
The marchers, organized by Make the Road New York, an advocacy group for immigrants and low-income people, and joined by several City Council members, were demanding changes in the police’s stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say singles out black and Latino young people, most of whom are never charged.
“We’re not antipolice,” Make the Road community organizer Jesus Gonzales said at the rally at City Hall Park. “We just don’t want them to take part in a process that doesn’t work.”
Justin Rosado, a 16-year-old youth leader with Make the Road, spoke about the first time he was stopped and frisked, at age 13, while playing basketball on the roof of his own building. He recalled being searched by an officer, who then issued him a ticket for trespassing, which was later dropped.
“I am a kid who follows the rules,” Mr. Rosado said, “but none of that matters because I am young and Latino.”
Other speakers included Kimberly Dukenso, a transgender woman who said she was recently arrested because the police mistook her for a prostitute, and City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, who was detained at last month’s West Indian Day Parade in what he has called a racially motivated arrest.
“I was told N.Y.P.D. doesn’t racially profile,” said Mr. Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat who represents Flatbush. “Do you believe that?”
“No!” the crowd yelled.
Several other City Council members, including Melissa Mark-Viverito and Gale A. Brewer of Manhattan and Daniel Dromm of Queens, said they planned to propose legislation to end the practice of stopping and frisking. The new bill, Mr. Williams said, would allow people to sue when frisked, would define “racial profiling” and would make the police more accountable.
“You’re not criminals” he told the crowd. “You’re beautiful children of God.”
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