Target: Pedro Serrano, a New York Police Officer
Goal: Commend Officer Pedro Serrano for blowing the whistle on racist New York Police policies.
Investigations are underway regarding New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy, a procedure that allows police officers to stop anyone they suspect of a crime and search their person. The policy requires officers to report each stop, along with the suspected crime, but 36% of officers have failed to report acceptable “suspected criminal activities.” In 2011, 685,724 stops were made under the policy – and 90% of the individuals targeted in these stops had done nothing wrong.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the policy in the past, insisting that it helped keep New Yorkers safe, but in a five-year period, only 5% of stops resulted in arrests. The majority of individuals stopped – about 85% – were black or Hispanic. Even in majority-white neighborhoods, black people were stopped and frisked most often.
Testimony from Officer Pedro Serrano supports the claim that the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s “Stop and Frisk” policy involves racial profiling. Serrano testified recently that he was told to stop “the right people, the right time, the right location” by Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack. McCormack also indicated to Serrano that he should not stop every black or Hispanic person, but was ordered to target “male blacks 14 to 21.” Serrano’s testimony is supported by an audio recording he took.
The NYPD’s racist policies are unsurprising, but disgraceful. Officer Pedro Serrano should be commended for his candor and courage in coming forward, particularly after the treatment faced by another officer, who was and locked in a mental institution for five days against his will by the NYPD when they discovered his intent to testify. Sign the petition below to support and commend Officer Pedro Serrano for doing the right thing.
Dear Officer Pedro Serrano,
Recently, you testified in an investigation regarding New York City’s “Stop and Frisk” policy. You stated before the court that your superior, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack, openly told you to target black youths while you executed the policy. The NYPD has shown a pattern of racial profiling in its police work, and the black and Hispanic population of New York has been victimized all too often by the officers who claim to protect them.
I am writing to commend you for your courage in coming forward with incriminating evidence, and for your candor in this difficult time. The only way to weed out racist policies in the NYPD is to call them out and demand they be removed. Thank you for doing the right thing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: j-No via Flickr.