PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s lecture at Brown University didn’t go quite as planned.
Kelly was shouted down by protesters during a talk at Brown Tuesday, and his planned lecture called “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City” was canceled.
Dozens of students and social justice activists protested before the afternoon lecture because of the department’s stop-and-frisk policy and its surveillance of Muslims. Many protesters then went inside the hall and began shouting about stop and frisk and racism during the talk.
The Brown Daily Herald said the protesters “shouted chants in unison, and individuals stood and shouted about personal experiences with racism and racial profiling.”
Brown officials asked the protesters to reserve their comments until a question-and-answer session with Kelly. When the shouts continued, the hall was cleared.
“After about half an hour, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn and Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn told audience members the event was canceled and had the room cleared,” the Brown Daily Herald said.
Students opposed to Kelly’s visit first petitioned the university to cancel the lecture, according to Jenny Li, a Brown student who helped organize the protest.
When the university did not cancel the event, “we decided to cancel it for them,” Li said. She called the protest “a powerful demonstration of free speech.”
Brown University President Christina Paxson said the protest “deprived the campus and the Providence community of an opportunity to hear and discuss important social issues.”
“The conduct of disruptive members of the audience is indefensible and an affront both to civil democratic society and to the university’s core values of dialogue and the free exchange of views,” Paxson said in a statement.
The department is fighting off lawsuits alleging it has engaged in racial profiling while fighting crime. Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have denied the accusations.
(Video Credit: WPRO/Steve Klamkin)
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