Princeton professor and noted activist Cornel West was arrested last weekend for protesting in front of the Supreme Court, and on Friday afternoon he repeated the experience in New York City.
West was part of a demonstration against the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” policy, in which individuals considered suspicious by the police are searched without due cause.
According to Salon’s Justin Elliott, the NYPD carried out 600,000 such searches last year, with 87% of the targets being black or Hispanic. Only 7% of the searches resulted in arrest, and critics of the policy say it does little to reduce crime and is probably unconstitutional.
The protest was endorsed by Occupy Wall Street at a general assembly on Thursday, but was planned and carried out by older left-wing groups. Although it drew just a few hundred demonstrators, the general media frenzy over anything connected with OWS resulted in it attracting dozens of reporters and photographers.
As the demonstrators chanted, “Stop and frisk don’t end the crime, stop the frisk is the crime, police began arresting them and leading them to a waiting van.
According to RT, “An Occupy Wall Street legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild told RT’s Lucy Kafanov that around 30 demonstrators in all were arrested, including Revolutionary Communist Party spokesperson Carl Dix. … Police also unsuccessfully tried to arrest a journalist on assignment for Democracy Now.”
This video of the arrests is from RT.com, posted October 21, 2011.
This video of Cornel West’s remarks prior to his arrest is from YouTube, posted October 21, 2011.