Thousands March Silently to Protest Stop-and-Frisk Policies
In a slow, somber procession led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders, several thousand demonstrators began a silent march on Sunday down Fifth Avenue from 110th Street to protest the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies, which the organizers say single out minority groups and create an atmosphere of martial law for the city’s black and Latino residents.
Wade Cummings, 46, a teacher, attended with his 19-year-old son, Tarik. Both said they had been stopped by police officers — once for the father, three times for the son.
“I’m concerned about him being stopped and it escalating,” the father said. “I like to believe I taught him not to escalate this situation, but you never know how it’s going to go down.”
Police officers stopped nearly 700,000 people last year, 87 percent of them black or Latino. Of those stopped, more than half were also frisked.
The protest, which began at 3 p.m., follows recent remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that he planned to scale back and amend the practice, amid escalating protests.
“It’s clear that the mayor and police commissioner are hearing the message,” said Leslie Cagan, one of the march’s organizers. “They’re taking steps that might be small improvements, but what’s really needed is a stopping of stop-and-frisk. Many cities have had significant reductions of crime without it.”