Oct 30, 2013 10:45 AM EDT
Ray Kelly Booed: Police Commissioner Hounded By Brown Protesters, Cancels Speech (VIDEO)
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was booed off stage Tuesday by student protesters at Brown University, the New York Daily News reported.
Kelly was invited to deliver a lecture on "Proactive Policing in America's Biggest City" at the Ivy League School in Providence, R.I. He planned on talking about the New York Police Department's crime fighting efforts but the raucous crowd drowned him out, forcing him off the stage after barely getting any words in edgewise.
"We do not at all support Ray Kelly's stop-and-frisk policies, and we wanted to stand in solidarity with communities the police have targeted," third-year student Kristy Choi told the Daily News.
Kelly was to speak on "proactive policing," a policy more commonly known as stop-and-frisk, and one that was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in August. Under the policy, New York City police officers were stopping and questioning tens of thousands of pedestrians annually, and frisking them for weapons and other contraband.
When Kelly arrived to Brown University before his 4 p.m. lecture, he was greeted by protestors carrying signs that read "Stop & Frisk Doesn't Stop Crime." "Stop Police Brutality," and "Ray(cist) Kelly."
But the Brown-out really began when Kelly - dressed in a dark suit and red tie - stepped up to the microphone and the 100 or so students packed in the room began lecturing him, according to the Daily News.
"You hide behind your statistics of lower crime rates, but the residents of East Flatbush, Brownsville, East New York, do not feel safer than they did in 2001," said Danny Echevarria, a Brown student from Brooklyn, class of 2016.
"Instituting systematic racism in New York City is a disgrace," another student chimed in.
"I thought this was the academy, where we're supposed to have free speech," Kelly said during one of the brief lulls in the protest.
Brown officials asked protesters to allow Kelly to speak and reserve their comments until a question-and-answer session. Marissa Quinn, vice president for public affairs at the university, was shouted down when she pleaded for the crowd to let Kelly speak, the Providence Journal reported.
"I have never seen in my 15 years at Brown the inability to have a dialogue," Quinn commented.
When the shouting continued, the hall was cleared.
As Kelly fled the stage, the protestors chanted "From N.Y.C. to PVD, stop police brutality," the Daily News reported.
There were some Brown students, especially those packed into the adjoining room with a video feed of Kelly, who wanted to hear what he had to say.
"That was disgraceful," said a student who asked not to be identified. "If people are really against it, they should be arming themselves with the arguments of the opposition instead of stifling education."
There was no immediate response from Kelly to the uproar, but Brown University President Christina Paxson expressed that she was highly upset.
"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," she said in a statement.
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 told ABC News.
She called the protest "a powerful demonstration of free speech."
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