NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gay rights groups are speaking out in support of a silent march being held later this month in protest of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy.
Representatives from groups including the Empire State Pride Agenda and Human Rights Campaign joined Rev. Al Sharpton, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president Benjamin Todd Jealous and union representatives at an event Tuesday announcing they would be taking part in the June 17 march.
“This is one struggle, one fight,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “We understand that justice is indivisible.”
Sharpton said, “You must be for the civil rights of everyone, or you’re not for the civil rights of anyone.”
The groups’ event was held Tuesday at the Stonewall Inn, a bar where patrons’ defiance of police in a 1969 raid was a watershed moment in the gay rights movement.
Last year, the NYPD stopped more than 630,000 people, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half were frisked, and only about 10 percent were arrested. The police department has said it made 203,500 street stops during the first three months of this year, up from 183,326 in the first three months of last year.
The department has said it’s a necessary crime-fighting tool that saves lives, but critics say it’s racial profiling.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said there would be changes to officer training and supervision in response to the public outcry about the street stops, including a new training course detailing how to conduct lawful stops.
Last month, a federal judge gave class action status to a lawsuit by people who had been stopped. The lawsuit accused the police department of purposefully targeting black and Hispanic neighborhoods and said officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and are punished if they don’t.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the practice has led to thousands of illegal stops