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NYPD stop-and-frisk whistleblowers facing retribution

RT | April 30, 2013

Cops who testified against the New York City Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy have faced retribution from higher-ups and officers who subscribe to the idea that the controversial tactic, deemed unconstitutional by major courts, is fair and legal.

NYPD officer Pedro Serrano told the Associated Press he’s faced harassment at work after testifying that stop-and-frisk, which was enacted in 2002, targets minorities and requires patrol officers to meet monthly quotas.

Serrano said that, along with finding a sticker of a rat pasted to his locker, he says he’s been micromanaged – including transferred to a different precinct to work an overnight shift. He also claimed that he was refused overtime hours amid an otherwise erratic schedule.

“A lot of people told me not to come forward because of what would happen – they said the department would come after me,” Serrano said. “But I’ve been thinking about it since 2007. I felt I couldn’t keep quiet.”

Serrano, along with fellow officers Adrian Schoolcraft and Adhyl Polcano, secretly recorded hours of patrol briefings and meetings with superior officers. The audio was played during the current federal trial meant to determine if black and Hispanic men are targeted by NYPD cops seeking to boost their numbers.

Polcano testified that he was told he needed to have 20 summonses, five street stops and one arrest each month.

“I was extremely bothered by what I was seeing out there,” he said on the stand. “The racial profiling, the arresting people for no reason, being called to scenes that I did not observe a violation and being forced to write a summons that I didn’t observe.”

Polcano was suspended from duty and charged with filing false arrest paperwork after he detailed a list of grievances to the police department’s internal affairs. He now works in a video review department. Schoolcraft, who remains suspended, did not testify at the trial because he has filed his own federal suit accusing superior officers of forcefully taking him to a psychiatric hospital in 2009.

Other officers who testified painted Serrano’s complaints as an unfortunate but necessary part of the job. Joseph Esposito, the former chief of the department, testified that most officers “leave their house every day to go to work to protect the city. They have the best intentions all the time, and they do it. There is a small percentage…we’re talking about in any profession, there is a group that will try to do the least amount and get paid the most.”

The alleged harassment would fit in the narrative of the NYPD. In the early 1970s plainclothes officer Frank Serpico accused the department of widespread corruption only to be shot in the face during a later investigation. Labeled a traitor by the police but a hero by others, Serpico was portrayed by Al Pacino in a popular eponymous movie chronicling his story two years later.

During an interview with the Associated Press Serpico said recent events prove NYPD groupthink hasn’t evolved past a “kill the messenger” mentality.

“I’ve become their grandfather,” he said. “They don’t want nothing. They just want somebody who knows what they’re going through. I give them moral support.”

The trial has been underway for more than a month, and recently included testimony from a parade of officers trying to discredit Polcano and Serrano as malcontents who often caused trouble. NYPD policy dictates that officers are required to report corruption without fear of retribution.

“It hasn’t been a picnic,” Serrano said. “They have their methods of dealing with someone like me.”

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Second NYPD officer testifies on stop-and-frisk quotas, racial targeting

RT | March 22, 2013

Following a leaked recording seeming to prove the existence of an NYPD arrest quota system, a second police officer has come forward to explain to a federal judge why he decided to record his superiors as they directed him to increase “stop-and-frisks.”

Officer Pedro Serrano, an 8-year veteran of the New York Police Department, held back tears as he explained to the judge why he came forward: “It’s very simple. I have children. I try to be a decent person.”

Serrano joins another whistleblower from the Bronx, Officer Adhyl Polanco, who testified earlier this week regarding his own recordings as part of a federal class action suit against the City of New York seeking to address racial disparities in the department’s street stops.

Meanwhile, a 2003 settlement from a similar lawsuit set in place a requirement for the NYPD to track the stops. The resulting records showed that some 87 per cent of the 5 million individuals detained by police were black or Latino.

Officer Serrano presented a recording from June 2010 in which a female lieutenant told officers she was “looking for five” – that is, requesting a specific quota for criminal summonses from officers in the precinct. Serrano recorded another instance only a month later, in which another lieutenant made a similar reference to a “five-five-five,” indicating a quota in place for arrests, patrols and summonses at public housing projects.

Serrano testified that his performance evaluation subsequently dropped in every category, evidently for failing to meet the quotas. During a meeting with his supervisor, Serrano was told that his performance score was based more on his “numbers” and his “low activity.” At the time, his precinct’s captain is said to have informed him that the NYPD’s Operations Order No. 52 allowed her to implement “performance goals,” likely a veiled reference to quotas.

Much of Serrano’s testimony supports accusations that officers who refused or failed to meet quotas were subjected to discriminatory treatment. Serrano points to the fact that he was transferred to an undesirable post, denied a day off following a car accident near his home, and the vandalization of his personal locker – which included the placement of “rat stickers.”

In its denial of the quota system and a racial profiling policy, the NYPD claims that the appearances of both stem from departmental reliance on the CompStat program, that being the heavy policing of high-crime neighborhoods – which are often predominantly minority communities.

Still, Serrano’s testimony did reveal direct evidence of racial targeting at least in his precinct. In one specific recording, a lieutenant urged officers to concentrate on a region in the south Bronx: “St. Mary’s Park: go crazy in there. Go crazy in there. I don’t care if everybody writes everything in there. That’s not a problem.”

Officer Serrano also provided recordings of an appeals meeting with Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormick, regarding his low numbers for writeups – which he was told would only have been “appropriate for Central Park.”

The same meeting became heated after McCormick indicated Serrano’s numbers demonstrated a lack of initiative, an issue he demanded be rectified by detaining “the right people at the right time.” “And who are the right people?” asks Serrano, to which McCormick replies “I don’t have any trouble telling you this: male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”

Serrano’s testimony was presented as part of Floyd v. City of New York, in which four plaintiffs claim they were racially profiled by the NYPD. Four police officers presented evidence for the prosecution.

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Second NYPD officer testifies on stop-and-frisk quotas, racial targeting