Edwin Raymond, an eight year veteran of the New York Police Department, is heading a class action lawsuit involving 12 other black and latino police officers against ‘New York’s Finest,’ alleging that the NYPD is instructing its officers to satisfy predetermined numerary objectives for arrests and tickets every month. In other words, the quota system the department denies having is real and it is discriminatory. Raymond claims that quota-based policing practices are at the heart of the city’s apparent racial disparities in arrest and incarceration statistics.
Throughout William Bratton’s appointment as police commissioner of New York City, crime levels have reached historic lows. With a decrease in summonses and overall arrests, department mouthpieces have been quick to claim this positive turn to be a direct result of Commissioner Bratton’s newly implemented training strategy which piloted a new program aimed at offices spending more time familiarizing themselves with the community they serve and it’s residents.
However, minority officers have expressed disagreement that Bratton had in fact employed such new methods at all. Insiders in the department claim that any so-called new measures have actually been perpetuating the quota system.
Chief of Department James O’Neill is on record stating, “Whatever arrests we make, whatever summonses we write, I want them connected to the people responsible for the violence and crime.” The department has repeatedly stressed that is more focused on the quality of arrests and summonses rather than the quantity.
In the suit, Raymond attempts to provide alternative perspective:
The suit accuses the department of violating multiple laws and statutes, including a 2010 state ban against quotas, and the 14th Amendment, which outlaws racial discrimination. It asks for damages and an injunction against the practice. Although plaintiffs in other cases have provided courts with evidence suggesting the department uses quotas, this is the first time anyone has sued the department for violating the 2010 state ban against the practice.
The lawsuit claims that commanders now use euphemisms to sidestep the quota ban, pressuring officers to ‘‘be more proactive’’ or to ‘‘get more activity’’ instead of explicitly ordering them to bring in, say, one arrest and 10 tickets by the end of the month. ‘‘It’s as if the ban doesn’t exist,’’ Raymond says. Other cops agree. At a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ozone Park, Queens, a black officer who is not involved in the lawsuit (and who, fearing retribution, requested anonymity) spoke at length about the inconsistency between the department’s words and actions, her anger building as she spoke, the tea cooling in her cup, until she concluded, bluntly, ‘‘It’s like they’re talking out of their ass and their mouth at the same time.”
Public scrutiny of the practice from 2011 to 2013 triggered the NYPD to ‘outwardly’ discontinue the operation. Officer Raymond maintains that officers are still instructed to make a certain number of arrests for minor offenses.
Addressing this issue to a New York Times Reporter, ‘‘Every time I read the paper, I thought, Why do they think the problem is stop-and-frisk?’’ Raymond says. ‘‘Although stop-and-frisk is unlawful, and it’s annoying, you’re not going to not get a job because you’ve been stopped and frisked,’’ he says. ‘‘You’re going to get denied a job because you have a record.’’
As Injustice previously noted, the NYPD is still conducting regular stop-and-frisks, with many of them being unconstitutional, as it has already been determined unlawful:
A federal monitor tasked with overseeing changes and improvements to the NYPD’s stop, question, and frisk program said recently that out of the 600 stops they analyzed over the course of three months in 2015, nearly a quarter could be viewed as unconstitutional.
The findings, released Tuesday in a 72-page report, noted that “In almost every case in which the NYPD’s Quality Assurance Division found insufficient basis for the stop, frisk, or search, the supervisor in that command nonetheless had signed off on the report and noted there was sufficient basis for the stop, frisk, or search.”
Edwin Raymond intended to change the practices of policing from the inside, seeking a promotion to sergeant in order to do so. Sources say his promotion was declined because of his vocal position that policing communities of color be fair, just and effective.
Instead of Raymond, the NYPD promoted Kenneth Boss, the officer who fired 19 of the 41 shots in the police killing of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo in 1999. Every officer involved in that high-profile case was acquitted.
Edwin Raymond is a good friend of mine, who also happens to be one of the founders of PLOT (Preparing Leaders Of Tomorrow), a youth mentoring program that provides mentorship and resources to young men of color, where I am also a mentor. We share a collective passion for a fair and just society as well as the need to positively impact the lives and futures of young children of color.