Out of the thousands of police officers in New York City, only a handful have decided to step up and speak out on the city’s “Stop & Frisk” practices. But what are the ramifications of doing so?
Officer Pedro Serrano, along with fellow whistle-blower cop Adhyl Polanco, testified on Tuesday in the class action lawsuit challenging the city’s stop and frisk campaign. The plaintiffs allege the campaign violated the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. He says he’s been protesting for six years the department’s habit of setting quotas for how many arrests and summons each officer should achieve per month.
“I’ve been verbally telling my supervisors this is wrong,” he said. “They say, ‘This is the way it is; it’s been done this way forever.’ You can’t fight. It’s a losing battle.”
Serrano is feeling the effects of testifying against his fellow boys in blue. During his testimony, he stated that he fears other police officers will try to set him up and get him fired. He also said that unidentified officers have put rodent stickers on his locker implying that he’s a rat.
Both officers said if they didn’t get the 20 summonses, one arrest and five street stops per month while working patrol, they’d face poor evaluations, shift changes and no overtime. Serrano said the push to get arrests came right after the academy and continued. He said he’s been punished for not having enough arrests.
“They tell you: ‘I need a specific number,'” Serrano said of his superiors.