Matthew Swaye and Christina Gonzalez: Are they a nice-looking young couple, dedicated to social justice and willing to put themselves at risk to protest what they see as discriminatory police practices, in the proud tradition of civil disobedience?
Or are these two "professional agitators" deserving of placement on a "wanted" poster? It seems it depends on whom you ask. And we'll let you guess where the New York City Police Department, which Swaye and Gonzalez have criticized heavily for its stop-and-frisk policy, comes out on that question:
"Be aware that above subjects are known professional agitators," read the flyer, which bears the NYPD shield and a seal of the NYPD's Intelligence Division. It also gave the home address of the couple …
"Someone is going to look at that and see my face on what looks like a wanted poster," said Gonzalez. "Anyone who doesn't know about our videos and know us will look at those mugshots, read about us being so-called agitators who interfere with police activity, and see criminals." …
"I stood up immediately and quietly said my face is on this," he said. "I tried to validate myself; talked about my degrees."
Swaye said he also reached out to the sergeant and offered to cook dinner for the precinct so they could discuss the police tactics. Nicholson declined, he said.
He called the precinct the following day and was told the flyer had been taken down, he said.
"I have nothing to hide, but for the officers to know where I live is scary. I feel scared to bring people over here now," said Gonzalez.
The couple have filmed officers stopping and frisking and arresting young people of color in Harlem and around city, which they post on Gonzalez's YouTube account, according to Swaye. They said their actions are legal.
"There have been times when it's gotten combative. There have been times when they [police officers] have videoed Christina," said Swaye. "But if we were breaking the law they would have arrested us."