posted 2012-03-07 21:15:25

Ray Kelly Appearance Draws Protesters

NYPD commissioner speaks at Fordham alumni luncheon

John Bolger, News Editor

The 63rd annual Fordham Law Alumni Association luncheon drew a crowd of roughly 50 people protesting NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s appearance as a featured as a speaker at the university’s luncheon held on Wall Street at the Cipriani Ballroom. Kelly and his direction of the police force has come under fire recently in light of reports that the NYPD had conducted a rigorous domestic spying program on Muslim students and citizens inside and outside of New York. The protest was peaceful, resulting in no arrests or serious confrontations with police.

According to a guest list posted on a web page for the luncheon, which started at noon, approximately 250 guests were in attendance, although it appeared many guests, including Kelly, did not enter through Cipriani’s front door. Showing up early to the event before many protesters arrived, Allan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, stopped and spoke candidly for a moment with a protester, a Cipriani employee holding an umbrella above him, before walking up the red-carpet draped stairs of the Merchants’ Exchange building.

As protesters began to arrive a brief verbal confrontation ensued between NYPD and protest organizers as the group started its first chants of the day. The protesters initially were located directly in front of the Cipriani, however they were made to move across the street, on the grounds that the sidewalk had become a “frozen zone.” The NYPD had erected a barricaded pen down the street from the club, intended to contain the protests, however it was agreed upon that protesters were free to assemble across the street from the frozen zone.

As guests arrived to the luncheon, most made their way hurriedly up the club entrance’s stairs and out of sight of the protesters. One attendee upon arriving was outraged to discover the protests and shouted above the chants “you are shaming Fordham,” before entering the building, shaking his head. Popular chants at the protest included “Fire Ray Kelly” and “Ray Kelly you can’t hide, we can see your racist side.”

As the number of protesters gradually shrank, a human microphone session was held briefly before the luncheon protest was disbanded and the group of about 20 remaining protesters marched to Zucotti Park, where a teach in on the Egyptian revolution was simultaneously taking place.