NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy is under fire once more after officers testifying last week in the federal class-action trial in Manhattan revealed that superiors wanted them to target Black men. Although city officials have denied the racist allegations, early testimony in the trial has been especially damaging to the police department’s stance.
In an opinion piece from the New York Times titled “Walking While Black In New York,” officers Pedro Serrano and Adhyl Polanco took drastic measures to expose the policy’s aims. Using a secretly taped recording to document the wrongdoing, officer Serrano was ordered by a superior to specifically target the “right people” – Black males ages 14 to 21.
“The problem was, what, male blacks,” said 40th Precinct Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack to Serrano. “And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem telling you this, male blacks 14 to 20, 21.”
As the Times column noted, this would be a clear indication that police officials violated the constitutional Fourth Amendment rights of the men. The law offers protection against illegal search and seizure, especially when officers have not established reason for suspicion.
Officer Polanco of the 41st Precinct dealt with a similar matter. Noting in his testimony that officers were ordered to create stop-and-frisk scenarios, make more arrests and issue 20 summonses including one arrest per month as part of a quota. Polanco also recorded police meetings in a similar hidden fashion and shared the audio during testimony as well.
The trial is expected to last until the end of April, with several witnesses taking the stand to offer countering and supporting testimonies.
Photo: Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News