Police say about 30 people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges during a protest outside a police precinct in Harlem.
A group of activists, religious officials and others, including professor and activist Cornel West, had gathered Friday to protest the New York Police Department's stop, question and frisk policy.
The NYPD said some demonstrators did not comply with police orders not to block the entrance to the precinct building and were arrested.
Police officials say most of the people will be given summonses and released.
Opponents say the stop-and-frisk policy is unfairly targeted at black and Hispanic men. The department says it's a necessary crime-fighting tool and does not target a particular race.
"I had it happen to me," said protester Leroy Williams.
Another man told NBC New York that he has watched his friends being stopped on the subway "and the disparity is obvious."