Last week, twenty activists, including Princeton University professor Dr. Cornel West, were on trial facing charges of disorderly conduct after protesting the NYPD's "Stop & Frisk" policy. On Friday, they were all convicted of said charge, ending a trial that has been used to spotlight the contentious police policy. A Manhattan judge convicted all the defendants in one of the biggest political protest group trials in the city in recent years. West, standing alongside the defendants, was arrested Oct. 21 while standing in front of a police station door to protest the stopping, questioning, and sometimes frisking of hundreds of thousands of people annually.
"[The court] did justice. I disagree, but that is what democracy is all about," West said after court. Convicted of an offense that is classified as a violation means that he and 18 of the others will be sentenced to time served—the relatively brief period they were in custody after their arrests. One defendant, a performance artist, was sentenced to two days of community service. The demonstrators stood in front of a Harlem police precinct, carrying signs and chanting slogans opposing the stop-and-frisk tactic. "Each chose to defy an order to clear a path to the stationhouse door so that they could have this trial," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Michelle Bayer said in her opening statement during trial.