Published on Thursday, October 31, 2013 by Common Dreams
‘You are the terrorist, terrorizing our people’
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down from the stage at a Tuesday lecture at Brown University (Photo: Greg Jordan-Detamore/The Brown Daily Herald)New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was booed and heckled so vigorously at a Tuesday speaking engagement at Brown University that he was forced off the stage.
Kelly, known for implementing and vigorously defending the stop-and-frisk policies of the NYPD, was slated to give a talk for Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions entitled “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City.” Students say there’s nothing redeeming about the city’s widely criticized stop-and-frisk program, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court earlier this year for codifying and worsening already-rampant racial profiling by the NYPD.
Over 100 students showed up to declare that they do not approve of their school being used as a platform for Kelly’s ideas, and from the moment the speech began protesters filled the lecture hall with shouts and chants.
“You are the terrorist, terrorizing our people,” one person shouted, according to Twitter reports.
When an administrator asked attendees to reserve comments for the question-and-answer session, the audience responded with cries of “Racism is not up for debate.”
When the protests did not let up, the administration called off the talk and cleared out the lecture hall.
Brown students had previously circulated a petition demanding that the talk be canceled and Kelly’s hefty honorarium instead be donated to non-profit organizations working against police brutality in New York City.
“We believe that allowing a platform for Commissioner Kelly to speak sends the resounding message that the Taubman Center, as well as Brown University, condones policies, such as Stop and Frisk, that are proven to be harmful and unconstitutional,” the petition reads.
The university refused to meet the students’ demands.
Jenny Li, a Brown student who helped organize the protest, told the Huffington Post, “[W]e decided to cancel it for them.”
Video footage captured the scene that unfolded:
A member of the audience is pictured speaking out against NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly:
(Photo: The Providence Journal / Steve Szydlowski)