Minority police officers sue NYPD over illegal arrest quotas

© Carlo Allegri
A dozen black and Latino police officers are suing the New York Police Department and the city claiming that their bosses forced them to carry out illegal arrest quotas “against their own minority community.” The NYPD has denied ever using quotas.

The class action lawsuit, filed in the Manhattan federal court on Monday, argued that by forcing police officers to comply with the “illegal quota system,” New York City and the NYPD subjected black and Latino cops to unfair evaluations and discipline, according to the New York Post.

The suit also said performance evaluation was not evenly applied to all precincts. Police officers in precincts with lots of minorities had to make more arrests and issue more tickets than officers in “a precinct located in a predominantly white residential area,” the suit states.

The lawsuit cites testimony and news articles dating to 2010 that provide evidence of a quota system under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The suit said quotas have remained under Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The reality is that one year later, quotas remain alive and well and the NYPD is aggressively pursuing a numbers driven agenda with regard to arrests, tickets and summonses,” the suit reads.

The 12 named plaintiffs in the suit are all black and Latino NYPD officers who claim to have been penalized for reporting and complaining about “the illegal quotas and its racially discriminatory application against the minority community,” the suit states.

The suit alleges that police officers were being forced to make at least one arrest and issue 20 summonses a month.

The top NYPD spokesman told the Post that the department doesn’t use quotas.

There are no numerical enforcement quotas established by the NYPD,” spokesman Stephen Davis said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “Performance evaluations are conducted for all department employees based on an assessment of their duties, responsibilities and specific conditions of their assignments.

An NYC Law Department spokesman said the city would evaluate the merits of each of these claims and respond accordingly once they are served.

One of the lead plaintiff’s in the suit is Adhyl Polanco, a Latino police officer who first complained to the media in 2009 about how arrest and summons quotas affected communities of color. He testified in the high-profile federal stop-and-frisk case.

Polanco also filed a separate lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court on Monday against the NYPD and the city, according to the New York Daily News, claiming his whistleblowing about quotas and discrimination has resulted in a sustained campaign of retaliation by fellow police officers and management, including repeated suspensions, promotion denials and suggestions that he was mentally ill.