The Brooklyn offshoot of Occupy Wall Street began a march late Tuesday afternoon against the New York Police Department’s policy to “stop and frisk,” marching from the city’s Tilden housing projects to NYPD’s 73rd and then 23rd precincts.
Stop and frisk is a controversial policy used by NYPD that gives officers the authority to question and pat down anyone they think is suspicious, with or without a warrant. Civil rights groups and minorities say police use the policy to unfairly target blacks and Latinos. Police say it prevents crime.
Those at the scene shared reports of the protest on Twitter, with one person reporting that the march was picking up supporters as it moved, and an Occupy Wall Street Twitter account saying some protesters were already being arrested.
Freelance journalist Michael Tracy, who was at the scene, tweeted that Gbenga Akinnagbe, the actor who portrayed Chris Partlow on the TV show “The Wire,” had been arrested for protesting. “David Simon will be proud,” he tweeted, referencing the show’s creator.
A 2009 study found that 80 percent of all the people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in that year were black and Latino. The vast majority of those stopped and questioned in previous years weren’t charged with any crime.
In the Miami Herald today, columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. writes that the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the right to not have unreasonable searches and seizures, should prohibit the stop-and-frisk policy.
“Giving cops the power to randomly stop and search pedestrians they find suspicious could not help but exacerbate the problem,” he writes.
Watch footage of the protest below: