Secret Recording Reveals NYPD Ordered Officer to Target Young Black Males for Stop and Frisk
An NYPD whistle blower, Officer Pedro Serrano, presented damning evidence in a class-action lawsuit against stop-and-frisk, an NYPD policy the plaintiffs argue violates the civil rights of minorities who are overwhelmingly targeted.
In a conversation secretly recorded by Serrano, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormach can be heard telling him to stop-and-frisk “male blacks 14 to 21” to meet his monthly arrest quota.
Stop “the right people, the right time, the right location,” Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack is heard saying on the recording.
“He meant blacks and Hispanics,” Officer Pedro Serrano, who made the secret recording, testified Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
“So what am I supposed to do: Stop every black and Hispanic?” Serrano was heard saying on the tape, which was recorded last month at the 40th Precinct in the Bronx.
McCormack said to focus on the Mott Haven section, where the problem “was robberies and grand larcenies.”
“I have no problem telling you this,” the inspector said on the tape. “Male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem [to] tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21.”
This latest revelation comes on top of other secret recordings confirming suspicions about abusive NYPD practices.
Earlier this week, The Nation released an explosive audio recording that shows the New York City’s police union, the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, has been assisting the NYPD in setting arrest quotas, a practice the department has long denied exists. This came as a shock to many because the PBA has very publicly and proudly displayed their opposition to arrest quotas.
Critics within the NYPD say that quotas incentivize suspicionless stops, frisks and arrests, leading to systemic civil rights violations of innocent and often minority citizens. In other words, quotas exacerbate racial profiling.
“It has become a numbers game. They have lost the ability to see that communities are dissatisfied with this type of policing, especially minority communities. They are the ones being overly burdened for doing the same sorts of things that kids in middle-class neighborhoods are doing—only they’re getting records because officers have to make these arrests,” explains John Eterno, a former police captain and co-author of The Crime Numbers Game.
Furthermore, officers say that those who speak out or don’t meet their quotas face retaliation including being assigned to patrol the most dangerous spots. One officer in the video above says he has been assigned to work every single holiday year after year following his refusal to meet his quota goals.
The audio is just one of many tapes recorded by Officer Adil Polanco in 2009, though this is the first time the portion containing the PBA admission has aired. Polanco has since been hit with multiple charges, very clearly retaliation for blowing the whistle on the police department, demonstrating once again that whistleblowers rock and deserve our support.