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The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, walks with demonstrators during a silent march to end the “stop-and-frisk” program in New York, Sunday, June 17, 2012. Thousands of protesters from civil rights groups walked down New York City’s Fifth Avenue in total silence on Sunday as they marched in defiance of “stop-and-frisk” tactics employed by city police. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Stop and Frisk is the unfortunate way of life for many of our youth in the Bronx. Considering that the vast majority who are victimized by such tactics are people of color, you can easily see that it is racial profiling at its best. How demoralizing is it to be walking around the neighborhood or just sitting on your stoop with friends shooting the breeze and all of a sudden you’re bumrushed by cops because you “match the description” of a suspect?

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Julio Pabón, longtime Bronxite and community leader speaks out on this very issue in a thought provoking piece where he said something that rang so true:

As a father of three who have grown up in the South Bronx I remember many times that we as parents would be as worried of our kids being detained and harassed by police as being mugged. This might sound crazy, but true. The experiences that we have had with the police in our neighborhoods have not been as pleasant as what many of the police cars would have inscribed on their sides as “Neighborhood Police Teams.” They should go back and inscribe what they had on the cars when I was a teenager, “Tactical Patrol Force.” At least then they were more honest because it was a “Patrol Force” making us feel as if we were living in an occupied territory.

Growing up in the South Bronx (and even to this day) my parents always told me to be careful out but the one thing mom and dad would stress the most is to be careful if the cops pulled me over. To not give them an attitude and be obedient and follow directions because they feared if I attempted to defend myself verbally that a bullet through my head wasn’t all that improbable. Given the violent history of the NYPD with our community (as well as my own personal experiences), they had reason to fear for my life. They knew that I didn’t hang in dangerous circles but to them, the men in blue were equally dangerous.

Read the rest of Julio Pabón’s article on this issue which affects our citizens deeply.

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