Video Of Boston Police Stop Of Black Pedestrian Draws Ire From Activists

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BOSTON (CBS News) — A widely shared video showing a white Boston police officer stopping and questioning a black man who was on his way to a barbershop has roiled civil rights activists, who say the confrontation is indicative of the way law enforcement routinely view black men with suspicion.

See the video, here.

The video, posted on Facebook and uploaded to Youtube, shows the officer in a car asking the pedestrian, who shot the video, if his name is Kevin. The officer, who identifies himself as Zachary Crossen, then asks who he is, where he lives, what he does for work and what he’s doing.

The man said he’s going to the barbershop and pressed Crossen to explain why he was stopped.

After a second officer tells the man he’s free to go, Crossen, seemingly sarcastically, tells the man to “have a great day, contributor,” before asking again if he has a job. The confrontation continues — with the man calling Crossen a “pig” — before the two go their separate ways.

Jamarhl Crawford, a longtime activist in Roxbury, said the video a reflection of how black men are regularly treated by police.

“This is not an isolated, one bad cop, incident,” said Crawford, editor of the website Blackstonian. “At any given day, anywhere in America, a black man can just be stopped — not doing anything — and questioned.”

Massachusetts state Rep. Evandro Carvalho called the video “deeply disturbing.”

“Young Black men should not be stopped and harassed for merely walking down the street in Boston,” Carvalho, a Democrat who’s running for district attorney in Suffolk County, said in a statement.

Lt. Det. Michael McCarthy, a police spokesman, said the department was reviewing the video to determine whether any department rules were violated.

McCarthy said officers were monitoring a house in the area when they saw the man who they believed was exhibiting behaviors characteristic of someone carrying a weapon. McCarthy said part of the job of police officers is to engage with community members, but he said there was “a lack of mutual respect on both sides” after the initial interaction.

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