So of course they haven’t changed a thing since Frank Serpico. The NYPD is still up to their old tricks:
A New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, who spoke out publicly against the department’s use of illegal quotas for summonses and arrests, filed a lawsuit [PDF] in federal court this week alleging his superiors discriminated and retaliated against him based on his race and speech.
NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco began voicing his concerns during roll call at his South Bronx precinct in 2009 after he became frustrated with the pressure the department was putting on officers to issue summonses and arrests each month. According to Polanco’s lawsuit, the NYPD was threatening officers with “termination and negative employment actions, such as low performance evaluations and punitive postings,” to force them to meet their quotas.
After his complaints were met with silence and punishment, he began making audio recordings of the roll call meetings. His superiors could be heard on tape, on multiple occasions, urging officers to complete a “20 and 1”: twenty summonses and one arrest within about twenty days of patrol. They also told officers to get their numbers by targeting minority communities.
“If you think one and twenty is breaking your balls, guess what you’ll be doing,” one supervisor is heard saying on tape recorded by Polanco. “You are going to be doing a lot more, a lot more than what they are saying.” Another supervisor continued, “next week twenty five and one, thirty five and one, and until you decide to quit this job and go to work at Pizza Hut, this is what you are going to be doing ’til then.”
In a 2013 interview, Polanco said he resorted to taping the meetings because his attempts to work within the ‘proper channels’ to protest the informal quota system only put him in hot water, telling Colorlines, “I wrote to Internal Affairs expressing my concern about the racial profiling and [soon after] I was suspended for three days without pay.”
According to the lawsuit, Polanco told Internal Affairs he was facing retaliation in December 2009 “in that after being falsely and pretextually charged with insubordination, he was heavily punished as follows: 30 days suspension without pay, 1500 days suspension with pay, over 400 days of punitive posting in VIPER, over 1500 days on restricted duty psychological hold without cause, no vacation for four years, no training for four years and placement on level two performance monitoring for over four years.”
The real problem, though, is that in post-recession America, cops are expected to make up for the drop in revenue. Who’s pushing this? Who’s looking the other way?