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Cop: NYPD enforces quota on arrests, frisks

People walk by a Times Square police precinct

People walk by a Times Square police precinct in Manhattan. (July 10, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

A second New York City police officer testified Wednesday that the NYPD has enforced a "quota" system for arrests, summonses and street stops, at a closely watched trial in federal court in Manhattan over the use of stop-and-frisk tactics.

Pedro Serrano, 43, a nine-year veteran serving in the 40th Precinct in the Bronx, described one "good month" in which he recorded three arrests, 20 summonses, and responded to multiple radio calls -- but his supervisor nonetheless focused on the fact that he had no stop-and-frisk reports, known as UF-250s.

"He came up to me and said, 'You need more 250s,' " Serrano testified. "They tell you to your face, they tell you at roll call, they pull you aside and tell you. They tell you exactly what you don't have enough of."

Serrano's testimony echoed that of Officer Adhyl Polanco, a cop from the 41st Precinct who testified Tuesday he'd end up as a Pizza Hut delivery man if he didn't meet quotas. The class-action trial before U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who is considering ordering reforms and naming a monitor to rein in stops, began Monday.

Critics say stop and frisk, which quintupled to more than 600,000 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is used without the "reasonable suspicion" required by the Constitution, and has put minority neighborhoods under siege. The city says it is an essential tool in "proactive" policing, and the court should not try to manage the NYPD.

Polanco, completing his appearance on the witness stand Wednesday, played five tapes he secretly recorded during roll calls that captured his precinct commander, other ranking officers and a union delegate discussing performance goals. He said they were talking about quotas.

Stop and frisk, Polanco told Scheindlin, was a necessary tool to confront people who might be preparing to commit a crime, but should not be used as a weapon against the "whole culture" in minority communities just because a high proportion of criminal suspects are black and Hispanic.

"I don't want my kid to get shot by some cop who is chasing him to fill out a 250," he said.

Polanco said he has been suspended with pay for three years, since an altercation with a supervisor that coincided with complaints about quotas he made to the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, and is awaiting the results from a disciplinary hearing this year.

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