A planned “silent march” organized by civil rights leaders and supporters to protest the use of an aggressive and racially motivated policing tactic took place on Father’s Day Sunday without incident but left a powerful image of solidarity among several key groups. The “End Stop And Frisk: Silent March Against Racial Profiling” was helmed primarily by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, New York-based SEIU1999, and the NAACP. Other civil rights and labor union groups, such as GLAAD, also marched with the group.
Thousands were on the ground for the silent march, hoping to highlight the issues with NYPD’s “Stop And Frisk” policy. Last year, police using the tactic stopped 685,000 men, mostly Black and Hispanic. Of the staggering number, only 10 percent were found guilty of any crime. Marchers started their walk at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, starting their slow trek from Harlem and walking 30 blocks near Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home off Fifth Avenue. According to reports, a group of activists broke their silence when passing by the Mayor’s residence. The end destination was to be Bloomberg’s house, but the streets and sidewalks were blocked off.
Watch the “Stop and Frisk” march here:
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.”
The march did not go off without a hitch, unfortunately, as Occupy Wall Street protestors got involved in clashes with police after attempting to walk down to the Mayor’s home after being instructed to walk away. Disobeying the officers, the Occupy members tried to charge the barricade with nine of the group arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault.
However, that small fracas didn’t mar the overall intention of the event as it turns a glaring spotlight onto the “Stop and Frisk” law and its ineffectiveness. As Rev. Sharpton and others have said several times to the press and abroad, they are in support of the NYPD doing its job but they are not in support of the racial implications of how the “Stop and Frisk” law is levied. Sharpton told NewsOne that he hopes to meet with Mayor Bloomberg on this issue and come to a fair resolution.