New York: “Crime + Punishment” Exposes Racial Quotas in the NYPD & Retaliation Against Heroic Officers Who Speak Out

JANUARY 08, 2019
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A group of New York Police Department officers are challenging what they call a racially charged policy of quotas for arrests and summonses. Known as the ”NYPD 12,” they risked their reputations and livelihoods to confront their superiors, fight illegal quotas and demand a more just police force. We look at a film following their story called “Crime + Punishment.” It has just been shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. We speak with Stephen Maing, the film’s director and producer, and Lieutenant Edwin Raymond, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NYPD 12.

[There are good people out there, good police officers even, who STILL try and do the right thing.  Salute.]

Appalling video shows NY police pulling baby from mother’s arms (in the land of the Free..)

Outrage over video showing NYPD officers violently yanking toddler from his mother’s arms at Brooklyn food stamp office.

[Screenshot of Facebook video posted by Monae Sinclari]

Other customers in the city office shouted at the officers. At one point, an officer can be seen on the video pulling her stun gun and pointing it at people in the angry crowd.

Headley was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child and trespassing. As of Monday morning, she was still in jail because there was a warrant for her arrest in New Jersey, prosecutors said.

“We did not request any bail and Ms Headley’s hold is in connection with a warrant from New Jersey,” the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office said on Twitter. “We are reaching out to authorities in that state to expedite her release.”

The New York Police Department is investigating. The Brooklyn public defender’s office called on prosecutors to dismiss the charges, asking “why police were ever involved”.

“In our experience, people are often treated abysmally when seeking support from many of the city bureaucracies that are supposed to be helping them,” Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, said in a statement that echoed the complaints of public assistance clients.

‘A blemish on our city’

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a Democrat, likened the officers involved in Headley’s arrest to “Border Patrol police snatching away” a baby. He called the arrest “a blemish on our entire city”.

“The mother didn’t endanger the welfare of the child. The actions of the department endangered the welfare of the child,” Adams said at a news conference Monday morning. “If it’s wrong in Mexico, then it’s wrong in New York City.”

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office said it was independently investigating and “reviewing all available videos and interviewing witnesses with the intention of reaching a swift decision.”

The NYPD, which called Friday’s confrontation “troubling”, said security guards had “brought the woman to the floor” before officers arrested her as she resisted.

Ferguson disputed that, saying a police officer had forced the woman to the floor.

“This is unacceptable, appalling and heart breaking,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat, said on Twitter. “I’d like to understand what transpired and how these officers or the NYPD justifies this. It’s hard to watch this video.”

Corey Johnson

@CoreyinNYC

This is unacceptable, appalling and heart breaking.

I’d like to understand what transpired and how these officers or the NYPD justifies this.

It’s hard to watch this video.

Alex S. Vitale

@avitale

There are 3 NYPD officers and a sgt. shown ripping a baby out of the hands of a mother in an ACS office. This was the best plan they could come up with? No threat to anyone, no emergency, just brutal disregard for the well-being of mother and child. https://www.facebook.com/nyashia.ferguson/videos/2165023130216850/ 

A court document said the toddler was just under 18 months old. A family member was taking care of the child, authorities said.

‘Being poor is not a crime’

Democrat Letitia James, the city’s public advocate and the state’s attorney general-elect, said “being poor is not a crime,” in a statement. “No mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”

Assistance recipients are treated as burdens and looked down on, said Karen Blondel, 56, a former client at the Brooklyn office, said.

“It’s absolutely inhumane,” she said, adding that workers should not be judgmental. “It’s about who’s eligible.”

Jeremy Friedman, 32, a massage therapist who has received food stamps, said it’s important to examine the NYPD’s actions and also those of the Human Resources Administration, where he said he was “treated like I’m not even human”.

Jennifer Roman, 33, said she works but has used public benefits for 13 years. She went to the Brooklyn office for the first time Monday after moving to the neighbourhood from the Bronx.

There’s a system-wide problem of disrespect, Roman said, and she was not surprised by what the video showed.

There’s a perception, she said, that “since we need help, we’re no good, we’re scum”.