NEW YORK (CMC) - A high-ranking New York Police Department (NYPD) officer has acknowledged setting monthly quotas for summonses, arrests and stop and frisks of Caribbean and other minority youths while heading a Brooklyn, New York police precinct.
“I set a standard that said do your job or suffer the consequences,” Deputy Chief Michael Marino admitted on the stand in Manhattan Federal District Court during a class-action lawsuit challenging the NYPD's controversial stop-and frisk tactics as racial profiling.
In 2006, a New York State arbitrator ruled that Marino's quotas in the 75th Police Precinct in the East New York section of Brooklyn violated state labour law and ordered them to end.
In the class-action lawsuit, Judge Shira Scheindlin has been asked to rule on the constitutionality of the practice and could order changes, if the NYPD fails to convince her that the stops were not illegal.
Marino testified when he arrived at the 75th Precinct in 2002, he discovered that each police officer was writing only five summonses a month.
He said that level of activity was so low that it was detrimental to the community.
He said he, therefore, ordered the officers to write 10 summonses, make one arrest and conduct two “good” stop-and frisks each month.
“I did set numbers for them that would serve the community in a better manner,” Marino testified under questioning.
Marino is also one of the one of the defendants in a US$50 million lawsuit filed by police officer Adrian Schoolcraft.
Schoolcraft claims that Marino and other police officers took him to a psychiatric ward to discredit his claims of quotas in 2008 against Caribbean immigrants and other minorities.
In the meantime, another police officer had also caught a top Bronx police officer on tape telling him to specifically target “male blacks 14 to 21” for stop-and-frisk because they commit crimes.
“Stop the right people, the right time, the right location,” Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack is heard saying on the recording played in court.
“He meant blacks and Hispanics,” said Officer Pedro Serrano, who made the secret recording, as he testified in Manhattan Federal District 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 Police Precinct in the Bronx.
McCormack said to focus on the Mott Haven section, where the problem “was robberies and grand larcenies.
“I have no problem telling you this,” said the inspector 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”.
The NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics have been the subject of intense debate here, with many minorities and legislators, including Grenadian American Councilman Jumaane Williams, claiming that they unfair target Caribbean immigrants and other minorities.
Williams was unlawfully arrested two years ago during the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. Two police officers involved in the arrest were disciplined.