By Cyril Josh Barker, Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News –
(NNPA) - An article published in The Village Voice concerning operations by the NYPD in Brooklyn has many outraged, but also confirms speculation regarding how police handle communities of color.
Earlier this month, the Voice obtained hours of tape recordings from NYPD Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct. The officer secretly recorded his colleagues for hundreds of hours discussing things including street confrontations and roll calls and other conversations at the precinct.
The Voice has put some of the material, which was recorded between June and October 2009, on its website. The tapes were made without the knowledge or approval by the NYPD.
Key concerns are about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. The tapes reveal superiors threatening street cops if quotas aren’t met. Officers can also be heard calling Bed-Stuy, where the 81st Precinct in located, a “heavy precinct.”
“You’re not working in Midtown Manhattan, where people are walking around smiling and being happy,” one lieutenant said on tape. “You’re working in Bed-Stuy, where everyone’s probably got a warrant.”
A sergeant talking to officers from the precinct said after a shooting, “We had a shooting on Chauncey, so do some community visits, the usual bull---t.”
The recordings also reveal several incidents in which people were arrested and jailed for no reason or injured during arrests.
“I think the article only demonstrates what we have known for years,” said Omowale Clay of the December 12th Movement. “The NYPD is, in fact, a criminal enterprise in our community whose interest is not protecting the people. It’s an occupation force whose mission is to use us to rise up statistics.”
Clay added that officers on all levels lie and that the tape should confirm the police’s actions in cases such as Rodney King and the late Amadou Diallo. The recordings also prove that police brutalize youth, he said.
“The biggest thing to come out of this is that they lie—from Mayor Bloomberg to Commissioner Ray Kelly to those on the ground, they lie,” he said.
Concern about police treatment is particularly questioned in regard to the Marcy Houses in Bed-Stuy, where Clay said officers routinely stop young Black men. Clay believes it’s an attempt to gentrify Bed-Stuy event more.
"Everyday in the Marcy Houses, police are picking up young Black men,” said Clay. “It’s a word on the street. They step to you like you are a criminal. We understand that Marcy Houses stands in the way of gentrification of Bed-Stuy, but we are going to resist.”
The NYPD has not commented on the Voice article or the recordings.
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