Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


NYPD rat, NYPD hero
June 3, 2013 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Officer Serrano’s Hidden Camera "Once he joined the 4-0, nothing seemed clear-cut. 'Every now and then, we would have to be put in a van and hunt, basically…'"
posted by the young rope-rider (27 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great big brass balls. So glad to see there are at least a few cats in the LE community willing to stand up for basic decency and the rights of the public.
posted by stenseng at 2:00 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is awesome:
Once, when Serrano’s supervisors didn’t think he’d written enough summonses or UF-250s (the form cops are supposed to fill out for every stop-and-frisk), a sergeant put him in a car and drove him around until he found two guys standing by a wall.

According to Serrano, the sergeant said, “250 them.” When Serrano resisted the order, the sergeant said, “Summons them.”

“For what?” Serrano asked.

“Blocking pedestrian traffic.”

Serrano did as he was told, but as he took the men’s I.D.’s and wrote their tickets, he told them: “I’m violating your rights, and you should take my name down. If you ever want to sue, you can use me as a witness.”
Freaking heroic, that. We need more cops like this, please.
posted by koeselitz at 2:15 PM on June 3, 2013 [61 favorites]


I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: the entire NYPD needs to be completely dismantled and reformed from scratch. The fact that Serrano, a hero if ever there was one, faces so much adversity from the law enforcement community fror trying to enforce the law should be proof enough of this. For those who want more proof, they can look at all the unarmed black and latino kids who were murdered by the NYPD in the past year.

My favorite metaphor for institutional corruption is this: It doesn't matter how many or how few are causing the problem, they've contaminated the whole system; if I have a cup that's 98% chocolate milkshake and 2% dog shit, the whole cup needs to be thrown out.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:34 PM on June 3, 2013 [18 favorites]


So what you're saying is that a few rotten apples spoils the whole bunch?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:54 PM on June 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Great big brass balls. So glad to see there are at least a few cats in the LE community willing to stand up for basic decency and the rights of the public.

I'm sure there's quite a few more we'll never hear about too.

I don't know how much you've read up on this topic, but many cops who've come forward have had their lives ruined. Like railroaded in to being checked in to mental hospitals indefinitely kind of stuff.

I'm sure a lot of people look at it like "so my life is definitely going to be ruined if i speak out or try and take action against Fucked Up Thing, will i actually be able to effect any change? or will i just be swept under the rug, silenced, and ignored."

That's really the million dollar question in a lot of whistleblower situations, Especially ones like this where you can guarantee 100% there will be retaliation that essentially no one can protect you from. It's really like coming out against the mob or something.
posted by emptythought at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Racism, statistics and quantitative reviews, quotas, and trying to make numbers move rather than helping the city?

This sounds like a problem with the officers and administration rather than the whole department.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:03 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which part of the department is not the officers or administration?
posted by ook at 3:11 PM on June 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


It is coming out against a criminal organization, emptythought.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like railroaded in to being checked in to mental hospitals indefinitely kind of stuff.

It was not indefinitely, but you are referring to Adrian Schoolcraft.
posted by mlis at 3:18 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know how much you've read up on this topic, but many cops who've come forward have had their lives ruined. Like railroaded in to being checked in to mental hospitals indefinitely kind of stuff.

Yep. I first heard about Adrian Schoolcraft via This American Life (I think.) Hence the great big brass balls.

Also, quotas happen in every police department, and every cop I've ever known will say so off the record. Biggest lie uniformly *I see what I did there* told to the public, that police don't have quotas.

Of course, profiling and civil rights abuses like this are all too prevalent in big metro police departments, and beyond the pale, a much bigger deal than just quotas.

This all ties in with the militarization of the police, the creation of an incarceration industry, the us vs them mentality of modern law enforcement, and the neo jim crow effects of drug prohibition and enforcement.
posted by stenseng at 3:25 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a new personal hero.
posted by jaduncan at 3:27 PM on June 3, 2013


*Funny that organized crime and law enforcement have such similar "stop snitchin'" attitudes.


(your values for "funny" may vary...)
posted by stenseng at 3:27 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, anyone still willing to stand up after what happened to Schoolcraft (and what didn't happen to the commander who ordered him kidnapped) counts as a bona fide hero in my book.
posted by ook at 3:40 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Disclaimer: I hate quotas as much as the next guy.

I feel like one of the reasons they have them (or one of the reasons they were initially implemented) is perhaps that, without them, cops won't ever cite certain offenses.. like barely speeding, or jay walking, or whatever else might seem like too much hassle for the paperwork to justify when you could go grab a doughnut instead.. ? I dunno, maybe I am way off base on that.. maybe not.

Then again, I'm not interested in a ticket for speeding or jaywalk, regardless of whether I do it all the time or not.. I don't have time for that shit, either!

This has little to do with the actual article... sorry!
posted by mbatch at 4:34 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


This American Life ran a story on Adrian Schoolcraft a few months ago. He was requested to do this, as well as watch as the legitimate crimes he reported were downgraded to manipulate their precincts statistics.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:51 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia tells me there are approximately 35,000 uniformed officers currently serving in the NYPD. So...1 good one out of 35,000...?
Sounds about right based on my experience, but then again, I've been a victim of their protection and service.
posted by FeralHat at 5:31 PM on June 3, 2013


"I feel like one of the reasons they have them (or one of the reasons they were initially implemented) is perhaps that, without them, cops won't ever cite certain offenses.. like barely speeding, or jay walking, or whatever else might seem like too much hassle for the paperwork to justify when you could go grab a doughnut instead.. ? I dunno, maybe I am way off base on that.. maybe not."

If NYC wants to implement a quota on illegal honking tickets I will firmly support that, unfortunately it seems the quota system is limited to minority harassing and more recently bicyclists.

Why not use quotas to actually improve quality of life in the city, instead of pissing on poor people.
posted by sourbrew at 5:45 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amen, sourbrew. We've called in probably 40-50 noise complaints in the past two years- write some tickets on that! Like the bass booming party on Christmas Day at 4 a.m. Just think of the cash flow, cha-ching cha-ching!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:03 PM on June 3, 2013


Why not use quotas to actually improve quality of life in the city, instead of pissing on poor people.

Because poor people can't fight back.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:17 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's a link to the print version that's all on one page, instead of 8.
posted by karaus at 6:22 PM on June 3, 2013


Yo, how come LAPD can't get a few more Serranos and a few less Dorners?
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 PM on June 3, 2013


Also, quotas happen in every police department, and every cop I've ever known will say so off the record

The problem is that things like citations, summonses, tickets, et. al. are all countable. Thus, it's an easy way to track work. It's easy to compare Officer X to Y by counting forms.

Note -- I didn't say "accurate" or "correct", I said "easy."
posted by eriko at 6:03 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The impression that I've gotten from the few cops I've known that would talk about it (anecdata, your mileage may vary,) is that it's less about quantifying "work" and more about generating revenue...
posted by stenseng at 9:17 AM on June 4, 2013


From the article:

"For all of 2011, he’d done only five arrests, two summonses, and three 250 forms, fewer than he’d done the year before."

I don't know. That seems like not a lot of police work for a whole year to me, especially in a summons position. I'm against quotas like all of you, but he didn't start this until his performance review dropped his rating. How do you measure performance if you can't use numbers?
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:10 PM on June 4, 2013


Eh, that's poorly phrased. I realize that there is a lot of police work that doesn't end in arrests or summons. But, what are average numbers for a full time cop in NYPD for a rough area? I would expect more arrests.
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:14 PM on June 4, 2013


I thought the article said he started recording before the performance reviews dropped.
posted by klangklangston at 5:05 PM on June 4, 2013


Mayor Bloomberg: NYPD ‘Stops Whites Too Much And Minorities Too Little’
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older You sold me to an old man, father. May God destroy...  |  The Boston Globe's map of Star... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments