Among the officers surveyed—10 who are currently serving; 15 who are now retired—many admitted to "being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping." In the most extreme instances, a select few admitted to having a gun pulled on them.
The recent rhetoric from Rudy Giuliani and NYPD union head Patrick Lynch—in the wake of the slain NYPD officers—warns about the dangerous, false belief that black people should fear and submit to the police. Who else believes this? Black cops, apparently.
So, what is being done about police-on-police racial profiling? Nothing, according to officers.
All but one said their supervisors either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against them by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions. The remaining officers who made no complaints said they refrained from doing so either because they feared retribution or because they saw racial profiling as part of the system.
During Michael Bloomberg's tenure in office, the NYPD regularly profiled residents under the guise of Stop and Frisk and "Broken Windows" policing. The department's targets were usually black, Muslim, and Latino men and women. In August, a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Daily News confirmed what many knew to be true for decades: the aggressive and disproportionate policing of communities of color.
Additionally, a 2010 New York State Task Force report on police-on-police shootings revealed that, from 1994 to 2009, "officers of color had suffered the highest fatalities in encounters with police officers who mistook them for criminals."
Of course, many police apologists will cite otherwise, arguing that crime is typically higher in communities of color and by stopping suspected offenders—even if mistaken—they are helping quell the possible threat of violence or wrongdoing.
"[If] you want to get into the essence of why certain groups are stopped more than others, then you only need to go to the crime reports and see which ethnic groups are listed more as suspects," former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks told Reuters. "That's the crime data the officers are living with."
But crime data rarely tells the full story. As Michelle Conlin noted:
A number of academics believe those statistics are potentially skewed because police over-focus on black communities, while ignoring crime in other areas. They also note that being stopped as a suspect does not automatically equate to criminality. Nearly 90 percent of blacks stopped by the NYPD, for example, are found not to be engaged in any crime.
[Image via AP]