Last October, 22 people were arrested while protesting the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy. This group included Princeton University professor Dr. Cornel West. The collective appeared in court Monday, making it one of the biggest groups to go to trial together over political protest arrests in New York City in recent years. While two of the 22 accepted offers to get their cases dismissed, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Michelle Bayer argued that the protestors "intended" to be arrested. Defense lawyers profess there's reasonable doubt.
The protestors are using this trial to spotlight their concerns about the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies, charging the department with a tactic that disproportionately impacts people of color. The police have long denied they racially profile individuals they stop and frisk and have defended the practice as an important way to combat violent crime. If convicted, the protestors could face up to 15 years in jail.