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Demonstrators push for passage of Community Safety Act

AmNews Staff Reports | 4/11/2013, 4:21 p.m.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at City Hall Thursday to support the city council's Community Safety...
New York City Council Passes Community Safety Act

Hundreds of protesters gathered at City Hall Thursday to support the city council's Community Safety Act that would modify the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk practice. The rally, put together by Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), pushed the passage of the legislative package.

A diverse group of people came out to the rally including demonstrators from immigrant, Muslim, homeless and LGBT communities. While stop-and-frisk has been labeled a problem affecting Black and Latinos in the city, other groups said they too have been victims of the practice.

"New Yorkers are tried of waiting for justice and reforms," said Yul-san Liem, spokesperson for CPR. "Our communities are standing up to reject discriminatory policing like stop-and-frisk abuses, surveillance of Muslim communities and the lack of police accountability that have continued for too long."

Several elected officials came out to the rally including City Council Members Jumaane Williams, Leticia James and Comptroller John Liu. Williams sponsored the bill that would create a ban on profiling by the NYPD based on age, sex, gender identity and expression and require officers to identify themselves and explain their actions.

"I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this legislation and even prouder to join my colleagues today in calling for greater NYPD accountability and the passage of these bills," he said.

Other notable civil rights figures spoke at the rally including Tamika Mallory, national executive director of the Rev. Al Shapton's National Action Network. Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, also spoke and said stop-and-frisk makes Black and Latino youth fear police and criminals.

"Stop-and-frisk is the biggest racial profiling program in the country," he said. "It must be stopped."

A hearing on the Community Safety Act is scheduled for Oct. 10 at City Hall followed by field hearings on stop-and-frisk practices in Brooklyn and Queens later in the month.