Professor and political and civil rights activist Cornel West was arrested around 2:30 pm this afternoon in Harlem, NY while protesting with members of the Occupy Wall Street movement in front of a local police precinct.
Dr. West was among those arrested shortly ago in Harlem, NY during an act of civil disobedience in Harlem. 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.
Around 25 protesters were arrested during an act of civil disobedience, with a handful of others apprehended from outside of the demonstration.
Police also unsuccessfully tried to arrest a journalist on assignment for Democracy Now.
West and Dix were involved in a mass demonstration against the New York Police Department’s continuing “Stop and Frisk” police, where NYPD officers have been searching protesters without due cause.
Crowds gathered around the men during the arrest, chanting, “We say no to the new Jim Crow; stop and frisk has got to go.”
The issue has been picking up steam this week as New York politicians have been criticizing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for relying too heavily on the tactic. On Wednesday, state senator Eric Adams told of a meeting he had with Kelly, according to Capital New York:
There’s one quote Commissioner Kelly told me that I’ll never forget. He stated, the reason we use stop-and-frisk and target the group that we do is because we want all people who fit that group to feel that any time they leave their house they can be searched by the police. This will prevent them from carrying weapons.
A police officer was charged this week with violating the civil rights of a black man in Harlem whom he accused of resisting arrest after making a random stop. The case got activists to renew calls for the department to cease its policy of stopping and searching New Yorkers, which many say allows for racial profiling. West and others had planned to be arrested peacefully “to let our young ppl know we love them,” Wall Street Journal reporter Tamer El-Ghobashy tweets. Salon reporter Justin Elliott also tweeted of West being led away by police.
Less than a week ago, Dr. West was arrested with more than a dozen others on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington DC for demonstrating against the influence that major corporations have over the american judicial system. Speaking to members of the press then about the Occupy Wall Street movement, Dr. West acknowledged the importance of the protests and said, “The question is where it will continue and what form it will take. We just don’t know at this point.”
Charges against West and the others arrested in DC were dropped following an evening in jail.