Trial Opens Monday for Challengers of Stop-and-Frisk

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[New York City]

Twenty protesters will stand trial on disorderly conduct charges in the first mass trial of Occupy Wall Street-related arrests stemming from an October 21, 2011 non-violent civil disobedience protest of the “stop and frisk” policy at the NYPD 28th Precinct in Harlem.

The defendants include Dr. Cornel West, Princeton University Professor of African Studies; Carl Dix, Co-Founder of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Randy Credico, social comedian and former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice; Rev. Stephen Phelps, Senior Minister of The Riverside Church; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem; Prof. Jim Vrettos of John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; and, Nellie Hester Bailey of Occupy Harlem and activists from Occupy Wall Street.

“Stop & Frisk,” a policy heavily promoted by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is also being challenged in court by the NYCLU and Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2011, the NYPD stopped almost 700,000 people, or more than 1,900 people each day.

More than 85 percent of those stopped and frisked are Black or Latino, and more than 90 percent of them were doing nothing wrong when the police stopped them. “Stop and Frisk” is the first step in a pipeline that has ultimately placed 2.4 million in prison.

“We are here - even willing to go to jail - because we love young brothers and sisters of all colors unjustly treated by the NYPD," Cornel West said.

The defendants are represented by attorneys associated with the National Lawyers Guild Martin Stolar, Meghan Maurus, Paul Mills, and Ari Brochin.

"On October 21, we set out to take the resistance to the way the criminal injustice system abuses millions of people to a higher level by putting our bodies on the line to stop 'Stop and frisk,'”added Carl Dix. "On Monday, April 30, we will carry this fight into the courtroom and put Stop & Frisk on trial.”

"Speaking Truth To Empower"

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