NYers to NYPD: 'I Do Not Consent to Being Searched'

Reacting to the NYPD's announcement Thursday afternoon that police would randomly—but routinely—search the bags of commuters, one concerned New Yorker quickly created a way for civil libertarians to make their views black-and-white.

In a few outraged moments, local immigrant rights activist Tony Lu designed t-shirts bearing the text, "i do not consent to being searched." The minimalist protest-wear can be purchased here, in various styles and sizes. (Lu will not get a cut. The shirts' manufacture, sale, and shipment, will be handled by the online retailer. Lu encourages budget-conscious New Yorkers to make their own and wear them everywhere.)

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had announced the legally obvious—that New Yorkers are free to decline a search and "turn around and leave." But Lu, who is a lawyer at Urban Justice Center, warned that even well-intentioned cops could interpret people's natural nervousness or anger as "reasonable suspicion." The possibility of unjustified interrogation and even arrest is real, Lu said.

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  • Although police promised they would not engage in racial profiling, Lu said that, as with all street-level policing, people of color and poor immigrants would be particularly vulnerable, especially if encounters lead to arrests.

     
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