Friday, March 22, 2013

New York City Cop Testifies That He Was Told To Target Young Black Men

As hearings are under way to investigate New York City’s stop and frisk policy, one police officer is testifying that he was told by superiors to target young black men between the ages of 14 and 21.

Stop and frisk is a method of searching people in which a cop is able to stop someone he or she suspects of a crime, and is able to frisk that individual if they feel that there is some justification. New York City policy made 685,724 stops as part of the policy in 2011 alone. In total, they have made over 5 million stops, and 85 percent of those stopped were black or Latino.

Officer Pedro Serrano, in court to testify yesterday, played a covert recording he’d obtained of an interraction with his superior where he was told the race of people to target, though not that he should stop everyone of that race:

Stop “the right people, the right time, the right location,” Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack is heard saying on the recording.

“He meant blacks and Hispanics,” Officer Pedro Serrano, who made the secret recording, testified Thursday in Manhattan federal court.

“So what am I supposed to do: Stop every black and Hispanic?” Serrano was heard saying on the tape, which was recorded last month at the 40th Precinct in the Bronx.[...]

“I have no problem telling you this,” the inspector said on the tape. “Male blacks. And I told you at roll call, and I have no problem [to] tell you this, male blacks 14 to 21.”

During cross examination, City lawyer Brenda Cooke got Serrano to admit that McCormack never said he wanted Serrano to stop all blacks and Hispanics.

“Those specific words, no,” he told her.

The news about targeting black men tracks with yesterday’s revelations that the NYPD set quotas for arrests. It also explains the fact that, in 2011, NYPD made more stops of young black men than there actually are young black men in the city.

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