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At least two dozen arrested in New York while protesting police policy

From Rose Arce, CNN
updated 9:44 PM EDT, Fri October 21, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Protesters block the entrance of a police precinct and refuse to move
  • They are railing against New York's "stop, question and frisk" policy
  • Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West is among those arrested

New York (CNN) -- At least two dozen people were arrested on Friday in the New York neighborhood of Harlem, where they blocked the entrance to a police precinct in protest of a policy they say discriminates against minorities.

The crowd rallied before marching through Harlem to the precinct, where some protesters blocked the entrance and refused to move.

A brief scuffle broke out after a plainclothes police officer asked a photojournalist to move. He did, but the officer gave him a slight push and the photojournalist objected.

The officer called for assistance and a crowd gathered around the photojournalist to protect him from arrest. One of the protesters surrounding the journalist was thrown to the ground by police and taken away in handcuffs.

The rally drew about 50 supporters from the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street demonstration, that has encamped at a park in the city's financial district on the other end of Manhattan.

Protesters hoisted signs and chanted, "Join us, join us! Stop, stop and frisk."

They were referring to the "stop, question and frisk" policy under New York law, in which officers who reasonably suspect that a person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime are authorized to stop, question and possibly frisk that person. Authorities have said that the policy an effective tool to combat crime.

Speakers, all of whom were black or Latino men, spoke to the crowd about their experiences being stopped by police. Citing statistics, protesters predicted that 700,000 people, mostly young minority men, will be stopped by police next year and that 90% of them will be found innocent of any crime.

Among those arrested Friday was Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West. He called the protest part of a "national awakening."

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