When Hebron Meets Harlem

August 14, 2013

In Blog

In 2009, Officer Polanco delivered an anonymous letter to his ICO, reporting that officers were engaging in racial profiling and other misconduct toward minority communities:
“[W]e were handcuffing kids for no reason. They would just tell us handcuff
them. And boss, why are we handcuffing them? Just handcuff them. We’ll make up the charge later.  Some of those kids were not doing anything. Some of those kids were just walking home. Some of those kids were just walking from school.”
In his letter, which he believed would be forwarded to IAB, Officer Polanco described the following incident, from 2009:
“I remember one incident where one kid — and Ireported this — they stopped his brother. He was 13. And he was waiting for him from school at the corner to bring him home. When he came to us, the officer — Officer, what’s wrong with my little brother? Was he acting out? He wind[s] up with handcuffs too. For simply asking what was going on with his brother.”
Officer Polanco also reported in the letter that on more than one occasion, he was required to drive on patrol with supervisors who directed him to stop individuals without what he believed to be reasonable suspicion. A supervisor would point to a “group of black kids or Hispanic kids on the corner, in the park, or anywhere,” and direct Officer Polanco to “just go grab, […] go summons them. Sometimes they will ask me to summons them. We will ask the supervisor why. And they will say unlawful assembly or something like that . . . [b]ecause there’s more than three of them on the corner.”  [From Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s decision declaring stop-and-frisk illegal]