A new Reuters report reveals that many black NYPD officers admitted to being victims of racial profiling by white officers while off duty.
The report surveyed 25 officers, 10 who are currently employed with the department and 15 who have retired. Many of the officers claimed that they were often pulled over for no reason, thrown into prison vans, had their head slammed against their cars and were subjected to stop and frisks. Five of the officers interviewed had had guns pulled on them.
Desmond Blaize, now retired, said that he was once stopped while jogging through Prospect Park in Brooklyn. “I had my ID on me so it didn’t escalate,” Blaize said. “But what’s suspicious about a jogger? In jogging clothes?"
One third of the officers interviewed reportedly said they filed a complaint after being profiled, and all but one of them said their supervisors “either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against them by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions.”
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Some say that the reason it seems that officers specifically target people of color is because the crime rate is higher in certain communities. “[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 said. “That's the crime data the officers are living with."
The Reuters report argued, however, that the statistics may not be entirely accurate.
“A number of academics believe those statistics are potentially skewed because police over-focus on black communities, while ignoring crime in other areas,” The report said. “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.”