Black and Hispanic NYPD officers continue to come forward with more allegations of discrimination against the NYPD, as part of an ongoing Manhattan federal court lawsuit against the police force.
Initially filed in 2015 by a group of officers now known as the NYPD 12, the suit claims that between 2011 and 2015, members of the NYPD were coerced into racially profiling New Yorkers to meet internally enforced "collar quotas," policing Black and Hispanic men more than any other civilians and targeting them for arrest.
"One of the policies of the NYPD is arrest quotas," Sgt. Edwin Raymond of the NYPD 12 said in a 2016 interview with Hot 97. "The arrest quotas are primarily in place in Black and Hispanic communities, where officers are pressured to have a certain amount of arrests, summonses, and even 'stop and frisks' up until the Floyd v. NYC case where the judge ruled it unconstitutional. […] There's a set number of arrests, summonses, and stop and frisks for officers to get, and immense pressure to get it — and consequences if you don't get those numbers."
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"The NYPD 12 is basically 12 officers who decided we're not going to go along with this," Raymond continued. "Because — one, it's already illegal. It's a labor law violation, but it's being ignored completely by the NYPD."
Raymond and the rest of the NYPD 12 are clearly not alone in their sentiments, as more Black and Hispanic officers go public with their accounts of the carefully embedded racism that's been dictating the inner workings of "New York's finest" for years, some even attesting to their experiences via sworn affidavits. According to the New York Times, six officers claim they were pressured into imposing low-level violations on Hispanic and Black people under the advisement of then-commanding officer Constantin Tsachas.
"It was emphasized that we needed to stop male [B]lacks. Those were the ones Tsachas wanted to go to jail,” former NYPD officer Pierre Maximilien reportedly stated in his affidavit, according to the New York Post.
New York Daily News has reported that cops who arrested Black men were "rewarded with more overtime." Although all officers were expected to fulfill these quotas, the suit further alleges that Black and Hispanic cops who failed to comply were often subjected to harsh consequences by their superiors.
“The supervisors would place the minority officers in punishment posts by ourselves, deny vacation or leave, deny us overtime, change our shifts, give us bogus command disciplines, yell at us in roll call, and give us poor evaluations,” Maximilien said in his damning declaration.
While on duty and, as retired officer Christopher LaForce said in his affidavit, "hunting Black and Hispanic people because of arrest quotas," officers were discouraged from taking disciplinary action against anyone who was considered a "soft target." According to court documents, senior lieutenants used this term in reference to white, Asian or Jewish citizens, while forbidding subordinate officers from administering summons to these people, presumably even if it was warranted.
"Tsachas would get angry if you tried to patrol subway stations in predominately white or Asian neighborhoods," LaForce said in his affidavit, according to the New York Times.
Laforce also suggested that the former commanding officer — who has since been promoted to deputy inspector, making him second-in-command for policing the Brooklyn subway system — would deliberately station officers in neighborhoods with a high concentration of Black and Hispanic residents.
Citing the pending litigation, the NYPD has reportedly declined to comment. However, according to the New York Post, the City Law Department did release the following statement:
"These claims of discrimination have not been substantiated. […] We’ll continue to defend against these baseless claims.”