An NYPD commander caught on tape apparently telling an officer that young male blacks and Hispanics were the "right people" to target for street stops testified Monday that he was trying to get the cop to match his police work to crime patterns in his Bronx precinct.
"I was referring to the victims' descriptions of the perpetrators who were committing these crimes," said Dep. Insp. Christopher McCormack, commander of the 40th precinct in the Bronx, testifying in a federal challenge to controversial NYPD stop-and-frisk tactics.
The trial before U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan focuses on allegations that police roust people without the "reasonable suspicion" required by the Supreme Court, and disproportionately target minorities for street stops. It began in March, and is expected to wrap up with closing arguments early next week.
In testimony in March, Officer Pedro Serrano, a nine-year department veteran serving under McCormack in the crime-ridden Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx, claimed there was a "quota" system that encouraged baseless stops and testified that he had secretly taped a February performance review at which McCormack criticized him for not having enough stops.
McCormack testified that Serrano had recorded only eight arrests and two stops in the previous year, none of them focused on the outbreak of robberies, larcenies and shootings that were terrorizing the neighborhood. He said he was trying to get Serrano to actively address the sources of violence.
"I was very worried that with his actions he wasn't addressing his [crime] conditions," McCormack said.