On Sunday, civil rights, faith and community groups will hold a silent march in Manhattan to protest the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which permits law enforcement to confront people at will, question them and pat them down for weapons or drugs.
The march, which will begin at 110th Street between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, will draw hundreds of diverse community and labor groups, faith organizations and elected officials. It reenacts an earlier march in 1917, when the newly formed NAACP silently marched down Fifth Avenue to protest race riots and to foment national opposition to lynching. That march, a powerful symbol of justice and strength, was led by W. E. B. DuBois. 95 years later on Father’s Day, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, together with 1199 SEIU President George Gresham and Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network will lead thousands down the same avenue, calling for an end to racially-biased policing.
The NYPD has come under increasing scrutiny for this controversial policy, raising concerns of the discriminatory targeting of minorities throughout New York City. In May, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the practice has led to thousands of illegal stops. She granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices as being unconstitutional and racially discriminatory; the ruling will allow anyone unlawfully stopped and frisked since January 2005 to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Also last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) published a report underscoring the racial disparities that communities of color have long been confronted with: hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers are being targeted and stopped each year by the NYPD, the vast majority of whom are black or Latino.
A significant number of those affected by this practice are immigrants, as ...