Here are some odds and ends for you.
The full story of what happened to Schoolcraft after he blew the whistle.
A corroboration of Schoolcraft’s accusations from another officer in the Bronx.
An episode of This American Life about the affair. Just…skip the first act. Short of having David Sedaris monologue about Norwegian iPods, it’s everything bad about the show.
And here are some posts from the Voice’s blog covering everything to do with the tapes, Runnin’ Scared:
”Runnin’ Scared” posted:
NYPD Gives Brooklyn Man Trespassing Charge For Ducking Under an Awning During Today’s Rainstorm!
Earlier today, right around the time that the City Council was holding a hearing on the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk practices, cops slapped a Brooklyn man with a trespassing charge for standing under an awning to get out of the rain.
Vincent Mouzon, a 55-year-old telephone pollster who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, tells the Voice he was on his way back to a local laundromat after mailing three letters when he paused under an awning outside an abandoned building on Malcolm X Boulevard.
When the rain abated, Mouzon resumed walking. About a block later, police officers from the 81st Precinct stopped and questioned him. The 81st Precinct, by the way, is the same station house that was the subject of the Village Voice’s widely read NYPD Tapes series.
“I showed them my identification and explained what I was doing,” he says. “I even opened the laundry bag for them.”
Mouzon says he told the officers that the ticket would be thrown out of court. “I told them, ‘look I know about you guys, I read the Village Voice article, and I know your precinct, and I know you guys are trying to make your quota,'” he says.
“Here’s a guy who was absolutely doing nothing, and now I have to go to criminal court and take a day off of work to deal with it,” he says. “I was just standing there seeking refuge, and it boggles my mind that this could happen. This doesn’t inspire trust in the Police Department. It’s such a waste of time and taxpayer’s money.”
Meanwhile, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee met for seven hours to talk about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices in city-owned public housing. Notably, the NYPD didn’t send anyone to testify in the hearing, which one councilman, Jumaane Williams, called “very disrespectful.”
Bishop Mitchell Taylor, a member of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, told the panel that the CCRB found misconduct in 32 percent of 76 stop and frisk complaints that were examined.
The city is facing a class action lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the Legal Aid Society which alleges that New Yorkers in public housing are being illegally stopped and questioned by police.
The lawsuit was sparked by complaints that residents are being arrested for trespassing in those complexes if they don’t have their identification card with them.
We should note, by the way, that there’s nothing in federal, state or local law that says you have to carry an ID with you wherever you go.
Bloomberg to Paterson: Please Let Us Keep Our NYPD Quotas
Some interesting backstory on the debate over NYPD quotas.
In a July 2 letter obtained by the Voice, Mayor Bloomberg pleaded with Governor Paterson to veto a bill that broadened a ban on the use of quotas by Police Departments, and sought to prevent the NYPD from tying them to disciplinary action like transfers or shift changes.
The fascinating thing about this letter is that despite years of denials by the Police Department of the existence of quotas, Bloomberg all but admits that they indeed exist, and not just for tickets, but for arrests and, most controversially, for stop-and-frisks.
“The law defines a quota as a ‘specific number of tickets…which are required to be issued within a specified period of time,'” Bloomberg writes. “The city finds the present law contrary to the effective management of public resources, and opposes in the strongest terms any expansion of this provision to include summonses or arrest activity for violation of any law or stops for suspected criminal activity.”
The admission that there are quotas for stop-and-frisks is controversial because the practice is supposed to be done when an officer believes a crime has or is about to take place. In other words, they are supposed to be tied to conditions in the field, not some artificial number coming from police headquarters.
“If that’s not a smoking gun, I don’t know what is,” says Joshua Fitch, a lawyer suing the city over its quota system on behalf of 23 New Yorkers, who claim they got tickets simply because an officer was trying to make his quota
Bloomberg goes on to compare public sector quotas with private sector management goals. “For an employee whose function it is to issue parking tickets, a measurement clearly relevant to job performance is the number of summonses issued over the course of a reasonable period of time,” he writes.
He closes by saying that the law could cause traffic and crime problems to increase. “By second-guessing the management of public safety agencies in their ability to measure arrest productivity and stop, question and frisk activity, the Legislature could cause fewer criminal arrests and summonses, more quality of life violations, more criminal activity, and actual injury to innocent victims,” he writes.
Paterson, though, snubbed Bloomberg and allowed the bill to become law.
At the end of August, Susan Petito, a senior NYPD lawyer, sent a memo to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other high ranking department officials, titled “Enactment of Quota Bill.” That memo was also obtained by the Voice.
“We have confirmed, contrary to expectation, the Governor failed to veto a bill which the city and the department had strenuously opposed,” Petito wrote.
I can personally verify this next one, having sat in on a number of training classes for officers on dealing with domestic and sexual assault. It’s unprofessional in most environments, but unbelievably fucking disgusting when your training amounts to, “don’t arrest victims of domestic violence instead of the perpetrator” and, “maybe shoot fewer black kids.”
Tapes Show That Often, NYPD Treated Training as a Joke
Supervisors in the 81st Precinct often ignored required training during roll calls, but still required officers to sign documents which stated they had received the training. That’s another of the revelations that can be heard on the recordings made by Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft which were obtained by the Voice for our “NYPD Tapes” series.
For example, in a January 30, 2009 roll call, a sergeant passes around the precinct’s training log and says, “Anyone didn’t sign this, sign it. The training [was], if you question someone, you’re supposed to say ‘Police, don’t move.'”
The room erupts in laughter.
The NYPD began mandating regular trainings during roll calls more than two decades ago. The purpose was to augment officers’ academy training and update them on new procedures, changes in the law, and new tactics. The subject can be firearms safety, safe driving, taking a complaint, ethics rules, arrest procedures, or one of many other subjects.
The roll call trainings are key because of the sheer complexity of working as a New York City police officer. There are thousands of evolving laws, rules, policies, mandates, and orders that must be followed. It is critical that police officers know and understand them.
The training requirement had a second purpose, which was to protect the city from litigation. In a lawsuit, if the city could show that a particular officer was trained in how to drive safely, for example, then it could argue that it was not at fault in an accident. So officers are required to sign a training log indicating they were instructed on that subject, and a record is kept of those signatures. That record then potentially becomes a document that can be used in court.
The tapes show that for whatever reason, that requirement was often taken lightly. Supervisors often either ignored the training or treated it with a loose attitude, but still required that the patrol officers sign the training log anyway. The phrase “sign the book” is heard repeatedly even before the roll call begins.
When the officers are supposed to be watching an instructional video on patrol car safety on January 29, 2009, the sergeant goes on with the roll call, handing out assignments while the video’s announcer drones, “You have more of a chance of sustaining a debilitating injury in a collision than you do in a shooting.”
In another roll call, precinct supervisors talk over a video produced by the NYPD Bomb Squad which is about detecting improvised explosive devices.
On February 4, 2009, a sergeant is heard expressing frustration that the training is not better organized. “Just remember that someone has a training job, they’re in there with a cushy job,” he says. “Let them earn their keep, you know what I’m saying? Lesson plans should be in the book.”
At the end of an October 4, 2009, roll call, the sergeant winds up by saying: “Listen, does anybody have a problem signing the training log? Today, you were trained on, uh, let’s see, RMP [patrol car] safety. I told you about be careful about the cars. That’s a generic training. Even though there’s nothing up there. If you have a problem signing the training log, then don’t sign it.”
His reference to RMP safety, earlier in the roll call? Three words, nothing more: “Watch the cars.”
In an October 18, 2009, roll call, the sergeant also skips the training, but asks the officers to sign the log anyway. “All right, to you concerned about training, RMP safety and shooting scene protocol,” he says. “Or 250s or whatever you want. You were trained on something. … Sign the book.”
The Voice asked the NYPD for comment on the importance of roll call trainings and whether skipping the trainings but making officers sign the log anyway was a problem.
There has been no response.