City officials, clergy members and community leaders held a rally and summit in the Bronx Friday to call for an end to the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy which comes ahead of a planned march on Father's Day to raise awareness about the controversial practice. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.
The Reverend Al Sharpton led Friday's gathering to push for the New York City Police Department to end its stop-and-frisk campaign. It's also a run-up to a march in Harlem scheduled for Father's Day to protest the practice.
"We can get the word out there to our youth as to what they should and should not be doing especially if they're stopped because they're definitely not educated as to what they can or should be saying and doing," said Reverend Liz Towns of the Jubilee Church.
The meeting comes one day after some of the city's black and Latino elected leaders went to Washington to ask the Department of Justice to investigate stop-and-frisk for penalizing minorities.
Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would support decriminalizing open possession of small amounts of marijuana to cut down on the number of stops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg backs that move but on Friday still stood by stop-and-frisk as an efficient crime-fighting tool.
"If you've got a better way of getting guns off the street, tell us," Bloomberg proposed on his weekly radio show.
However, leaders attending Friday's summit say the NYPD's own statistics show only one gun was found for every 3,000 stop-and-frisk stops.
"We have a lot of innocent people being stopped, not seen a major confiscation of guns the figures raised. So we need to see this corrected," Sharpton said.
"We have a group of people growing up, feeling not the police are there to protect them, but to victimize them," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged attendees to sign a petition to end the practice, and told leaders to use their moral edge.
"This is the moment to press the advantage," De Blasio said.
Church leaders say young people need to stay calm during a stop-and-frisk, and have the right to ask for and receive the name and badge number of an officer conducting the stop.
Last month, a federal judge granted class-status to a lawsuit filed by New Yorkers who have been stopped, and believe they were racially profiled.