NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” tactics and policies were put under the microscope yesterday as thousands silently marched through the streets of Harlem to protest the department’s tool of racial profiling.
Headed by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network along with hundreds of other civil, ethnic, and social groups, the march and rally was intended to bring political attention to policies that has fueled tensions between police and minorities since it was implemented during the Bloomberg administration.
In 2011, 685,000 people were stopped and searched in the city, 87% of which were Black and Hispanic. For Black males between the ages of 14-24 in the five boros, that’s more times than their entire population. Of all of these random searches, only 10% were found guilty of any crime.
At 3PM, the march began in Harlem and ended 30 blocks away at Mayor Bloomberg’s Fifth Avenue residence. The hope among the 300 civil rights groups in attendance is to get NYPD to recognize that the search tactic is illegal and unjust to largely law-abiding citizens of color in the sprawling city. Rev. Sharpton has said in an earlier interview with NewsOne that Mayor Bloomberg showed support for the family of Trayvon Martin and his racially motivated murder, but has yet to discuss the negative aspects of the “stop and frisk” law.
“We’ve [Mayor Bloomberg] worked together on education programs and other measures, and he also came out against “Stand Your Ground” laws,” said Rev. Sharpton two weeks ago. “But you can’t support opposing “Stand Your Ground” and then embrace its first cousin “Stop-And-Frisk” because both of them are based on racial profiling.”