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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Teens storm Brooklyn Bridge to protest NYPD’s controversial frisk-friendly policy

Protesters fed up with the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy marched the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday.

Hundreds of teens who say they’ve been targeted for questioning by cops because of their ethnicity marched over the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday to protest the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

One marcher said cops have stopped and questioned him some 20 times.

“I have been given many different reasons,” said Romale Johnson, 20, an organizer with Make The Road New York, a sponsor of the march.

“They say, ‘You fit the description,’ or ‘You looked suspicious,’ or ‘This is just part of a routine.'”

Organizers with the Campaign for Just and Fair Policing complain that blacks and Latinos are nine times as likely as whites to be stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked. Recent NYPD stats show that only about 12% of these stops have led to an arrest or a summons.

“The police are harassing people for no apparent reason,” said Tyrice Peeples, 19, a Brooklyn high school student. “Cops stop me and my friends for no reason.”

Police brass say the practice drives down crime.

“Violence is still disproportionately centered in minority communities,” the NYPD’s top spokesman, Paul Browne, said in a statement. He noted that 97% of shooting victims last year were black or Latino.

Protesters Wednesday used plastic buckets as makeshift drums as they marched over the bridge’s pedestrian walkway under a drizzling rain.

After rallying outside City Hall, marchers lobbied City Council members for legislation to curb stop-and-frisks and create stronger oversight of the NYPD’s use of the controversial tactic, which has brought the department under criticism from various civil libertarian groups.

The marchers were joined by City Councilman Jumaane Williams, whose brief handcuffing by cops during the West Indian Day parade is being probed by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

“Our community is under siege,” charged the Brooklyn Democrat, who marched with Kirsten John Foy, a top aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

The pair were detained by cops during the Labor Day festivities for trying to pass through a restricted area on their way to a parade reception.

Williams, who is black, has previously said that cops wouldn’t have bothered him had he been white.

But on Wednesday, Williams said he joined the march because of his opposition to rampant stop-and-frisks, though he admitted the parade flap has given him an axe to grind.

“I would have been out here anyway,” Williams said. “What happened on Labor Day makes it even more personal.”

He said he is currently drafting legislation to limit stop-and-frisks.

A record 601,055 people were stopped and questioned last year, NYPD stats show, and the department is on track to top that this year.

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