In August 2013, a federal judge ruled the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk practice unconstitutional.
Nicholas Peart, a lifelong resident of Harlem, was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He has been stopped and frisked repeatedly.
One of the first incidents occurred while he was out celebrating his 18th birthday. Nicholas (L) came to StoryCorps with his friend Frank Lopez (R) to talk about that night.
Music Info: "Dance of the Peacock Phantom" by Fredrik from the album Origami.
Click here for the transcript.
A few moments later, three squad cars pull up, and they come out with their guns drawn, demanding that we get on the ground. They patted us down. They took our IDs, and one of the officers, you know, he had wished me a "Happy Birthday," sarcastically.
And I remember feeling helpless, and I felt embarrassment. You know, I had my cousins with me, and they are from the suburbs, and they had never experienced anything like that. But, growing up in the city, stop and frisk is something that my mother prepared me for. You know, it happens so many times that you start to think that this is a normal thing.
It's about to be three years since my mom passed away, and I became the guardian of my siblings overnight. Barry's 14 now, and Jalen is 12. It's definitely heartbreaking, you know, that stop and frisk is something that I have to inform my brothers about. You know, "This is something that you may have to deal with."
But, you know, these are growing boys living in Harlem. They have to be aware of what's going on. You know, so I try the same techniques that my mother gave me, and you know, plant the seed.
You know, they may not understand the complexities of everything, but it'll make sense when it really counts.