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Activists prepare to march against NYPD

Civil rights leaders joined protesters at a Harlem rally Saturday to voice objections to a police practice that has led to hundreds of thousands of innocent people being stopped and searched by officers.

The Rev. Al Sharpton led the gathering of about 200 inside his New York City headquarters a day ahead of a planned Father's Day march against the NYPD's "stop-and-frisk" program.

"If it were your child, Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly, it would be one child too many," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Critics say the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning and searching people deemed suspicious is illegal and humiliating to thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics. The NYPD last year stopped more than 630,000 people, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half were frisked, and only about 10 percent were arrested.

A federal judge in May ruled that there was "overwhelming evidence" that the practice has led to thousands of illegal stops. The judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the practice.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defend the policy, saying the stop-and-frisk program keeps guns off New York streets and helps reduce crime.

Attending the rally was Franclot Graham, whose teenage son, Ramarley Graham, was shot and killed after police chased him into his New York home. A New York police officer has been charged with manslaughter in his son's death.

"Let us take back Father's Day for all our children," NAACP president Benjamin Jealous told the rally.

Sunday's protest is billed as a "silent march" starting at 3 p.m. on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street and moving downtown to Bloomberg's town house at East 79th Street.

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