King spoke of his support for members of the NYPD and the need for better community policing, but said that police need more sensitivity training about issues affecting communities of color. He said his father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would hope for the same.
One of the elected officials at the event was Councilman Daniel Dromm. More than 18,000 people were stopped and frisked during the last year in the 115th Precinct in the Queens district that Dromm represents.
"It's hard to believe that there was enough suspicion to stop 18,000 people in my district," Dromm said. "While I am not advocating for the complete removal of the stop and frisk policy, I am saying that we need to be sure peoples' rights are respected."
The event was coordinated by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to keep their minds open and to allow for a discussion of the issue.
"We are targeting people based on race and based on a certain profile, that quite frankly is not constitutional and creating a divide in this city," he said.
There were more than 680,000 stop and frisks in NYC last year. Eighty-seven percent of the stop and frisks were of black and Latino men. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD's own reports.