Black, Hispanic Officers Sue NYPD, Claiming They Were Punished for Balking at Ticket and Arrest Quotas
In yet another indication that the NYPD makes life just as tough for Black and Hispanic New Yorkers who serve on the force as it does for those walking the streets, a group of Black and Hispanic officers are filing a class action lawsuit against the force for punishing them for not meeting ticket quotas.
The story of the suit was first published in the New York Post, which revealed that the officers claim they are routinely denied overtime and vacation, demoted to menial posts and even threatened with firing if they don’t meet quotas such as making one arrest and issuing 20 summonses per month.
Black NYPD officers have complained in the past about harsh treatment inside the force—and about their fears of being harassed and abused when they are out of uniform and are just regular Black men walking the streets. In this suit, they say they are punished more harshly than white cops when they fail to meet their numbers.
“At this point, you either come up with the numbers or there is hell to pay,’’ Bronx Officer Adhyl Polanco told The Post.
Polanco has been a courageous voice speaking out against wrongdoing in the department. He became known to the public a few years ago when he informed the department’s Internal Affairs bureau that his supervisors in the Bronx were forcing him to meet ticket quotas and fudge numbers to make the precinct look better — and was rewarded for his efforts by being suspended by the department. He also testified against the department in the stop-and-frisk trial in federal court last year, which resulted in the policy being declared an unconstitutional violation of the rights of Black and Hispanic New Yorkers.
During an interview on Democracy Now, Polanco asked in December how his NYPD colleagues could find fault with Mayor Bill de Blasio for expressing his fears for his biracial son, Dante.
In this lawsuit, Polanco and the other officers say the punishment is racially based.
Officer Pedro Serrano, who also testified against the department in the stop-and-frisk case, says in the suit that he protested to a superior that the Puerto Ricans he was targeting for summonses in his South Bronx precinct couldn’t afford the fines, but was told it was OK because they were “animals.” Serrano was particularly offended because he’s Puerto Rican.
According to Polanco, after he complained about the quotas, he was warned, “If you think one and 20 is breaking your balls, guess what you’ll be doing. You’ll be doing a lot more.”
“Next week, [it’ll be] 25 and one, 35 and one, and until you decide to quit this job and go to work at Pizza Hut, this is what you are going to do until then,” the second supervisor said, according to court papers.
The Post says seven more NYPD traffic cops are about to file a separate class-action federal lawsuit claiming they were denied promotions and punished with no overtime and lost vacation in retaliation for balking at quotas as well.