An unnamed white supervisor within the New York Police Department has been accused of telling police officers of colors to "take people's freedom." Documents obtained by the New York Daily News indicate four officers of color faced retaliation if they did not arrest enough people of color to meet a quota.
"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?' retired New York Police Department Officer Charles Spruill said in an affidavit.
"The African-American police officer had no choice but to say, 'OK, boss.'"
Current and retired officers allege that they were instructed to Black and Latinx residents known as "hard targets." In contrast, officers claim they were steered away from arresting white and Asian residents known as "soft targets."
"The NYPD has a lot of internal names for the arrest quota, but they all mean the same thing. Officers are supposed to bring in a certain amount of arrests and issue a certain number of summonses per month," retired New York Police Department Officer Shawn Smalls explained.
"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."
Over time, nearly two dozen police officers of color have come forward to back a claim that a race-based quota system disproportionately affected minority officers. In 2015, Lieutenant Edwin Raymond and several of his colleagues filed a lawsuit that claimed officers of color faced retribution for participating in the "collar quotas" system.
Just last month, city attorneys filed a statement disputing Raymond's claims. The city's response claims that Raymond wasn't punished for speaking about the quota system, but he was punished because he was "unwilling to do his job."
Attorney John Scola has fired back against the city's statement. He persists that officers were stripped of pay and received negative evaluations as a result of speaking out.
"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," Scola explained.