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Sharpton arrested at NYC protest

NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton was arrested at the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday as he and hundreds of demonstrators blocked traffic to protest the acquittal of three detectives in the 50-bullet shooting of an unarmed black man on his wedding day.

Sharpton, two survivors of the shooting and the slain man's fiancee were among about a dozen people arrested on disorderly conduct charges near the base of the bridge. Police led away demonstrators at several other bridges and tunnels in the city.

The protests were part of a coordinated campaign to urge federal authorities to investigate the November 2006 shooting of Sean Bell. The three officers were acquitted of state charges last month.

Sharpton, shooting survivors Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman and Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell, were arrested, among others.

Sharpton is seeking a federal civil rights inquiry into Bell's shooting outside a Queens nightclub. Bell was black; the three officers acquitted in the case are Hispanic, black and white.

U.S. attorney spokesman Robert Nardoza said the case is under review but wouldn't comment further.

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A civil liberties group sued Wednesday in a challenge to the New York Police Department's practice of stopping hundreds of thousands of people each year for questioning, saying it is racially biased. The New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit lists New York Post reporter Leonardo Blair as the sole plaintiff, saying he was stopped and frisked by police officers as he walked from his car to his Bronx home in November. He was taken to a police station, where officers expressed surprise that though he was black, he was not from "the projects," the lawsuit said. Blair, 28, has a master's degree from Columbia University. The federal lawsuit said the NYPD said more than half of the 1-million frisks involved black people. Blacks make up only about a quarter of the city's population. Under the practice, officers with reasonable suspicion that someone might have been involved in a crime can stop and frisk them. The lawsuit asks that the practice be declared unconstitutional and that Blair be awarded damages.

>>Fast facts

Lawsuit targets NYPD practice

A civil liberties group sued Wednesday in a challenge to the New York Police Department's practice of stopping hundreds of thousands of people each year for questioning, saying it is racially biased. The New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit lists New York Post reporter Leonardo Blair as the sole plaintiff, saying he was stopped and frisked by police officers as he walked from his car to his Bronx home in November. He was taken to a police station, where officers expressed surprise that though he was black, he was not from "the projects," the lawsuit said. Blair, 28, has a master's degree from Columbia University. According to the federal lawsuit, the NYPD said that more than half of the 1-million frisks involved black people. Blacks make up only about a quarter of the city's population. Under the practice, officers with reasonable suspicion that someone might have been involved in a crime can stop and frisk that person. The lawsuit asks that the practice be declared unconstitutional and that Blair be awarded damages.

Sharpton arrested at NYC protest 05/07/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:39pm]

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