A second police officer took the witness stand today to testify that illegal quotas for arrests, summons and stop and frisks drove his precinct’s crime strategy.
Pedro Serrano worked in the same Bronx precinct as Officer Adhyl Polanco, who testified on Tuesday in the class action lawsuit challenging the city’s stop and frisk campaign. The plaintiffs allege the campaign violated the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. The city counters that stop follow crime trends.
Serrano spoke about his fear that the NYPD will retaliate against him for stepping forward and saying under oath what he has said in the precinct: that he rebelled against the quota policy for six years. He said stickers of rats have been placed on his locker.
This morning, Serrano will finish his testimony, and then excerpts from recordings made by Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft will be played. Schoolcraft secretly recording his bosses in 2008 and 2009, and the tapes make it crystal clear that quota pressure was constant. They also contain examples of downgrading of crime and orders which appear to have led to civil rights violations and false arrests.
If the city loses, the end result could be the installation of a federal monitor over the NYPD.
Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn finally publicly said that the council has come to an agreement with itself over the creation of an inspector general for the NYPD.
Council aides have been saying for months that the bill already had close to a veto proof majority, so Quinn’s statement has to be seen in the context of the upcoming mayoral race. Her opponent Bill de Blasio beat her to the punch with a press conference promoting the measure on Tuesday.
In a candidates forum Tuesday night, Quinn raised her hand when the candidates were asked who would keep Kelly on as commissioner. That’s been her public position.
Privately, her campaign aides are whispering that in fact she won’t keep Kelly, mainly because she wants to bring in her own person, sources say.
Mayor Bloomberg said the inspector general measure would in effect create two police commissioners and would roll back the crime gains of the past 20 years. He declared he would veto it.
Rather that being completely independent, as the original bill contemplated, the inspector general would be under the city Department of Investigation.
Historically, DOI has not had an inspector general for the police department even though its charter says the commissioner can order an investigation “of any agency.”
The police unions are also against the measure, with PBA chief Patrick Lynch calling it a waste of money driven by politics.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 20, 2013