Lawsuit: Minority NYPD Officers Pressured To Arrest Black And Latinx New Yorkers
Criminal Justice Reform News

Lawsuit: Minority NYPD Officers Pressured To Arrest Black And Latinx New Yorkers

(Image: iStock/JANIFEST)

Four NYPD officers have come forward with new claims that White NYPD officers target Black and Latinx people, based on an off-the-record quota system that targets minorities.

One of the four whistleblowers recalled a White supervisor asking, “Are you going to take someone’s freedom today?” The New York Daily News reported.


The new details of a minority-driven arrest quota will be filed in the Manhattan federal court alongside previous statements made by another group of four minority officers claiming they were punished for not reaching their quotas.

According to the previous group, White officers were not pressured in arresting minorities like minority officers.

A retired Black officer named Charles Spruill reportedly said he witnessed other Black officers being yelled at on a daily basis because they did reach the arrest quotas.

“On one occasion in the 40th Precinct a White supervisor asked an African-American police officer, ‘Are you going to take someone’s freedom today?’” Spruill said in his affidavit. “The African-American police officer had no choice but to say, ‘OK, boss.’ “

One officer who joined the force nearly 13 years ago, Lt. Edwin Raymond, filed a lawsuit against  the department in 2015, saying “there’s an unlawful quota for arrests,” CBS New York reported.

Raymond, who was on administrative leave, ran for City Council District 40 in Brooklyn, only securing less than nine percent of the vote, according to City And State.

“Individuals who are not part of this case have made some baseless accusations in new affidavits in an attempt to support plaintiffs’ meritless case,” a spokesperson for the city’s Law Department said. “Mr. Raymond’s claims have no legal merit.”

The Manhattan federal court suit, filed in 2015, has only gotten bigger with more than a dozen current and former NYPD employees backing the claim that officers of color were pressured into arresting people of color.

The performance-monitoring program officers used to improve their policing is alleged to be used to punish officers who don’t meet arrest quotas.

The program also uses coded language to describe race-based arrests: “soft targets” are people who fall in the category of Asian, Jewish, and White, and “hard targets” are blatantly Black and Hispanic people.

“The NYPD has a lot of internal names for the arrest quota, but they all mean the same thing. That officers are supposed to bring in a certain amount of arrests and issue a certain number of summonses per month,” Officer Shawn Smalls, a Black retired officer said in the new affidavits.

“The NYPD calls this arrest quota in the internal lingo of the police department many things. These code names include, but are not limited to, productivity indicators, goals, activity, expectations, condition, and/or performance goals,” he added.

Hispanic officer Michael Soto reportedly said then-commanding officer of the 40th Precinct, Christopher McCormack, randomly lowered minority officers’ performance evaluation scores in 2011 after getting the position. The evaluations determine which officers will get overtime and assignments to specialized units.

“McCormack changed the evaluation for no reason other than to implement a new strategy of hunting minority civilians in order to make the arrest quota,” said Soto. McCormack is now an assistant chief.

Another Hispanic officer named Dan Quinones said his commanding officer at Transit District 34, Capt. Constantin Tsachas, allegedly lowered the performance scores of officers who failed to reach the race-based quota.

“Basically, he would put you on the edge of performance monitoring and then dangle the carrot of overtime in front of the officers. Those officers who needed the overtime to live would have no choice but to go out and manufacture as many arrests and summonses as possible,” said Quinones. “The NYPD used overtime as a way to control its officers.”

Tsachas denied the allegations.

“Minority officers who refuse to hunt Black and Hispanic civilians are stripped of overtime, negatively evaluated, and placed on performance monitoring,” said attorney John Scola, who represents the plaintiffs in the case.

“This toxic culture, which permeates the NYPD, forces officers to choose between standing up for what is right and being able to feed their families.”