The New York Police Department's commissioner, Ray Kelly, was scheduled to present a lecture today at Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy. However, the lecture had to be cancelled after Kelly, known for his championing of stop-and-frisk as well as the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims, was booed off the stage.
Kelly was scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled, "Proactive Policing in America's Biggest City," a title which obviously inspired the ire of many students, some of whom can be seen below protesting before Kelly's lecture:
While I sympathize with the lecture organizer's request that protesters allow for a free and public debate on the issue by permitting Kelly to speak, I also sympathize with those who have heard enough from Kelly.
After all, this is a man who months ago actually stated that the NYPD had never stopped and frisked anyone who didn't have it coming to them (meaning walking while being black or Latino).
He is also a man who recently, after championing the surreptitious surveillance of Muslims citizens in New York and New Jersey, had the temerity to decry the NSA's secrecy.
While I support the idea of allowing for a free flow of information and the expression of difficult and controversial opinions at a university, I must admit ...
... I likely would have protested as well.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.
The Brown Political Review's media team sent along this video covering the protest, which is well worth watching: