Park Police Might Stop Crowd Counts

Article excerpt

Criticized for years and threatened now with a suit, the U.S. Park Police are considering getting out of the crowd-counting business.

Maj. Robert Hines of the Park Police made that suggestion Thursday as a fresh challenge arrived: Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing, using digital analysis of the park police photos, estimated the crowd at Monday's Million Man March at 870,000, more than twice the 400,000 estimated by the park police.

The Park Police and its parent, the National Park Service, are not required to count crowds, noted Hines. "Over the years, the news media and others came to expect it. We are going to reconsider whether we want to be in this business or not."

The Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, organized the Million Man March, called the park police estimate a racist-inspired undercount to dilute the event's success. Farrakhan contends that the crowd lived up to the event's name.

Abdul Arif Muhammad, co-chairman of the Muslims' legal committee, said a suit would be filed to force the park police to produce evidence on which it based its count.

ABC News commissioned the recount by Boston University's Center and broadcast the result on "Good Morning America. …