Youth march against stop-and-frisk

Hundreds of young people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the police practice of “stop-and-frisk.”

The protest, titled, “Campaign for Fair and Just Policing,” began in Cadman Plaza West yesterday morning [October 12]. Students from Bushwick High School for Social Justice marched along with members from the three headquarters of Make the Road New York (MRNY), which organized the demonstration.

Amidst drumrolls, tambourines, and phrases like, “We want respect, no discrimination!” the protesters expressed their opposition to the police tactic.

The police database shows that in 2010, 600,601 people were detained using the “stop-and-frisk” method.

Cynthee Cortés, an organizer with MRNY, pointed out that only 3 percent of detentions led to an arrest for carrying an illegal weapon and contraband. She underscored that African Americans and Latinos are nine times more likely to be detained in comparison to other communities.

Javier Valdés, co-director of MRNY, emphasized that the goal of the demonstration is to ask City Council to pass legislation that would put a stop to the “stop-and-frisk” tactic.

City council member Jumaane Williams supported the protest. He said that the “stop-and-frisk” strategy only weakens the relationship between police and the community. He stressed that minorities are less likely to report crimes because they fear the police.

At his side was Raquel Rivera, a volunteer at Bushwick High School for Social Justice. She said that police question students on their way to school. “Parents are afraid that their children are going to be arrested. These kids are stopped in the street. The police assume they’re playing hooky.”

Despite the gusts of wind blowing her way, Rivera, of Puerto Rican descent, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to ask police to treat people more humanely.

MRNY showed that in the 2010 Fiscal Year, at 83rd Precinct police station in Bushwick, 9,436 people were detained, 23 percent by force. Only six percent of the stops resulted in an arrest. Ninety-six percent of those detained were people of color and Latino.

The gay and transgender community also joined the march. Jessica Guamán, a resident of Queens for 15 years, said that transgender women also suffer because of the “stop and frisk” method.

“In 2010, seven police officers from the 115th Precinct arrested me,” she said. “They shouted homophobic insults at me, and I was a victim of excessive force. They broke one of my teeth and fractured my jawbone.”

Guamán, a 29-year-old from Ecuador, has a lawsuit underway. She declared, “I am here to ask for justice and respect for the gay and transgender community. Enough already with these abuses!”

Natalia Aristizábal, a student, said, “We are young Latinos and African Americans asking the police to fulfill their promise to New York City. We want the police to protect us, not harrass us.”

The Supreme Court of the United States maintains that a police officer can only search a person if he or she has a reasonable belief that the person is armed or dangerous. The police department did not comment on the protest. In regards to the “stop-and-frisk” tactic, the NYPD maintains that it has helped solve serious crimes.

Facts:

  • The police database indicates that in 2010, 10,094 people were detained in Times Square using the “stop-and-frisk” tactic. Eighty-one percent were people of color, according to a study by The New York Times.
  • In Jackson Heights, Queens, 12,923 people were detained, 55 percent forcibly.
  • In Port Richmond, Staten Island, police detained 20,798 individuals; 85 percent were people of color.

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