What drives well-meaning police to harass and violate the rights of the public? Read these mind-blowing quotes, below, from active and retired NYPD police.
“When I came into this department, I wanted to help people, but the civilian population is being hunted instead of being protected.” —NYPD veteran officer of 10+ years
New York State law prohibits the use of quotas for arrests, summonses, and stops by the NYPD. But, active officers (speaking on condition of anonymity) explain that quotas are definitely being used, and officers are threatened with retaliation if they don’t meet them. The NYPD is one of New York City’s only agencies to operate without independent oversight, leaving officers no safe place to file complaints about police practice and systemic problems.
► NYPD veteran of 10+ years:
“This job racial profiles, [it] will force you to do things that you don’t want to do. We’re supposed to be the best in the world? We’re [just] the best in making money, and we’re the best in arresting and summonsing everybody [in sight].
I had this captain [give] a speech about harassing the public. His words were ‘we’re gonna go out there and we’re gonna violate some rights.’ We hear it from the captain down. If you’re a certain ethnicity, standing on the corner, [police officers] have no problem racial profiling, searching you, [and] violating your rights.
The commanding officer wants to become a deputy inspector, the executive officer wants to become a commanding officer. If you do well by keeping your arrests up, you’ll be promoted to the next rank. So, they put pressure on the police officers to generate arrests. Some of us, under the stress, make them up. Some of us stop innocent people and search them. And there are certain units out there who will just run around and stop everybody.
When I came into this police department, I wanted to help people. But the civilian population is being hunted instead of being protected by us. They’re being hunted, and we’re being hated. There are a lot of officers who are fed up and want to do something about it, and there are people who are scared.”
► NYPD veteran of 15+ years:
“A lot of police officers are trying to set civilians off, and then once they start talking, start cursing, they can lock them up for anything. People don’t like police, because of the harassment. And what civilians don’t understand is that the police department is forcing us to do these unreasonable stops, or [we] get penalized.
They’re trying to keep all of this stuff quiet. [But, I have proof] that they’re putting pressure on me to give summonses. The police department is pushing the new guys to be bounty hunters. And I use that word because that’s exactly what it is; they’re hunting. We need police, but the police department needs to change things.
What happens to the police officer if they don’t do what the department tells them to do, as far as these quotas? They will come after you. They give you unwanted assignments, put you in a post that is very dangerous, high crime, by yourself, [backed] in a corner. [It's] a form of retaliation. They make you look bad on paper, and that paperwork will trail you for the rest of your police career, and knowing that your livelihood is at stake, you meet the quota.”
► Julio Valentin, Retired NYPD Officer and Law Professor:
“The public isn’t aware of what’s happening. It’s a numbers game. What did you get last year? Well, you have to match it and give me more this year.
Let’s be honest, it is a quota. Nobody wants to call it that [because they're illegal], but that’s what it is. They call it a performance objective, they call it a goal. They can mask it however they want; it’s a quota.
This goes all the way up to the commissioner’s office…even the mayor’s office. They’re trying to say ‘we’re stopping people, we’re getting guns and drugs off the streets.’ But [they’re] not. Of the 600,000 people who were stopped last year, only 1% of those who were stopped were carrying weapons.
Here you have a system where people are told to get those numbers to where they should be, and you’re gonna get your promotion.There are a lot of officers who would like to tell their story, but nobody wants to hear the truth. Nobody wants to hear the bad. “
► The following was secretly recorded during an officer’s performance evaluation meeting at NYPD Headquarters, these are his commanding officer’s words:
“Just looking at your activitiy based on other people’s activity, within your command, they feel like you’ve been below standard. All I’m asking you is to avoid anything further; do a little bit more. It’s not that hard to do a 250 (code for stop and frisk). I ain’t gonna lie…when I was doing my first 250, first time coming out, I was big on ‘I’m not stopping nobody for no 250.’ But then, I kept getting hit and hit hard about, ‘you need to do 250s, you need to do 250s.’ So, I started doing them just to keep the heat off of myself, cause I didn’t want to be in no type of monitoring or anything like that. So I just did the 250s just do do them.”
The Hunted and The Hated: An Inside Look at NYPD’s Stop-And-Frisk (Source for this article):
► The Hunted and The Hated: An Inside Look at NYPD’s Stop-And-Frisk [Video] (Source for this article)
► Stop-and-Frisk Campaign: About the Issue
►Federal court to consider legality of NYPD’s “stop and frisk”
►15 Amazing Facts About NYPD Stop and Frisks
► How Does It Feel To Be Stopped And Frisked [Video]
►Stop and Frisk: San Francisco Plunges into a New York Controversy