24-year-old breaks down in NY stop, frisk trial [View all]
NEW YORK (AP) ó A 24-year-old nonprofit worker wept on the witness stand Tuesday as he described an unnerving episode of being handcuffed near his home while an officer took his keys and went inside his building.
Nicholas Pert, who is black, is one of about a dozen New Yorkers expected to tell their stories of being stopped, questioned and frisked by police in a federal trial challenging how police use the tactic. About 5 million stops have been made during the past decade, mostly of black and Hispanic men.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of some of the stops, with lawyers arguing the policy unfairly targets minorities.
City attorneys said officers operate within the law and do not target people solely because of their race. Police go where the crime is ó and crime is overwhelmingly in minority neighborhoods, city lawyers said.
Pertís mother died of cancer, and he is the guardian for his three siblings, two small boys and his disabled 20-year-old sister. The stocky community college graduate testified that he was stoppedthree times, starting on his 18th birthday.
But it was a stop in 2011 that reduced him to tears.
He testified that he was walking to the corner store at about 11 p.m. to get milk when officersstopped him, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a squad car. One officer took Pertís keys, he said, and went into his building. Pert said he was concerned because he didnít know how his siblings would react if the officer knocked on the door.