Apparently, an NYPD officer from the 81st precinct was uncomfortable by the orders from the high ranking chain of command in reference to keep monthly quotas. Adrian Schoolcraft decided to record hours and hours – all day, every day for 17 months – of his interactions between himself and fellow citizens of the Bed Stuy area. Now, even though his actions started out as merely protecting himself from false accusations made by the citizens, what continued to unfold was very disturbing and shocking. Schoolcraft’s father was also a fellow officer and agreed that the need for quotas was a very unnecessary duty for police officers, but Schoolcraft went with the flow, to the best of his morals.
Schoolcraft is described as a very earnest and cynical person, by Graham Rayman of the Village Voice, who broke Schoolcraft’s story and even created a 5 part blog series “Runnin’ Scared”, which features periodical updates into Schoolcraft and the NYPD’s actions of quotas and downgrading crimes. Schoolcraft’s mission was only to get the commissioner to change the way precincts were operating.
By operating, this story is referring to getting the numbers up or “paying the rent”. NYPD officers were threatened repeatedly during daily morning roll calls despite the fact that punitive actions are indeed illegal against police officers in relation to quotas, which aren’t considered part of their everyday duties. This is actually considered a “non denial-denial”. Only because the tapes prove that they were In fact punished, either by being assigned graveyard shifts or having to do foot posts or transferring prisoners, which are all jobs that the officers prefer not to do.
“3 seat belts, 1 cell phone and 11 others “were the expectations of the officers who served in the 81st. And of course this refers to summons required to be collected by each officer staffed. “Do more stop-n-frisks”, even though it’s illegal without probable cause. These and more came from the department’s superiors. “Any roving bands of people are to be stopped and cuffed; throw them in and run warrants – go back out and process them later” can be heard on the tapes Schoolcraft recorded of the orders given to the officers of the 81st. This can be viewed simply by “cleaning the streets” when in fact it’s truly kidnapping or even unlawful imprisonment. Again, probable cause must be apparent. However, the ones targeted were then released with citations which most were later thrown out due to lack of vital information necessary for processing in court.
But Schoolcraft maintained a friendly and courteous relationship with the neighborhoods local businesses and residence. “These are the same people who can help you do your job as a police officer” Schoolcraft admitted. But his inability to comply with falsifying reports for the sake of quotas landed him on foot post, which he professed he enjoyed.
Real crimes were being reclassified or downgraded. In fact, on one of the recordings you can blatantly hear a supervisor (identified by Schoolcraft) asking a complainant if he was ever arrested, in which he admits that he did 8 years when he was younger. This report was supposed to be a stolen car issue but was downgraded to an unlawful use of a motor vehicle. The supervisor can be heard saying to the complainant “maybe karma stole your car”. Supervisors were required to come out to the scene for themselves in robbery complaints and if the complainant refused to come to precinct for any reason, the claims were thrown out.
The worst of all complaints was when a gentleman identified as Darrell Thomas was being interviewed by Detective Hernandez for 1st degree rape. The detective asked Mr. Thomas if he’s ever done this kind of act before, in which he admits at least 7 – 8 times in the same neighborhood, yet Hernandez found no records of anything related to serial rapist in the area. He asked Thomas to show him where these crimes were committed as they drove through the area since Thomas couldn’t remember the full details but insisted he could point them out if seen. Hernandez then found written reports set to the side (ignored cases) with the same detail but downgraded to criminal trespassing. Usually, the press is notified in serial rape cases, but the precinct didn’t report it due to the “bad look” they would receive. Hernandez retired due to the disgust of the matter.
NYPD continues to decline to respond to the allegations. There was a tremendous drop in serious crimes according to Compstat, which was introduced in 1994 and featured in the Wire, an HBO’s series. Compstat requires numbers to get better every year.
Schoolcraft received a failing job performance evaluation for the entire year of 2008, due to his continued refusal to manifest false claims to make quota stats. He hired a lawyer to appeal the decision. He got sick due to the stress brought on by his work. He proceeded to make reports to IAB (Internal Affairs Bureau) and QAD (Quality Accusation Dept.), which both departments refused to investigate his allegations due to their skepticism. He was written up for bathroom breaks, required to submit to strip searches, even watched a fellow officer get written up for talking to him. Schoolcraft’s recording eventually became his attempts at keeping his job. His supervisor could be heard on one of the tapes saying “if you don’t create it, it’s your badge”. But Adrian stuck to his belief about quotas being unethical and illegal. His gun and shield was taken because he explained his stress relation to the department physician whom referred him to a departmental psychiatrist. He was given a desk job.
QAB was given documents which proved Adrian’s claims, but he maintained his secrecy about the tapes. He even taped the 3-hour interview conducted by QAB. He endured continuous harassment from fellow officers, harsh manhandling, and was even committed to a psychiatric hospital forcefully against his will.
Currently, there exists 1 count into Schoolcraft’s allegations, 1 count into the Deputy Mariano’s actions of having Schoolcraft committed, 1 count for the 81st actions of downgrading crimes, and 1 count into the misclassification of sex charges brought on by Hernandez. There are 2 class action lawsuits for the quotas, as well as Adrian suing the city for $15 million.
The precinct is under new supervision and crime at the 81st went up 15% due to the crimes being reported accurately as it should.
Information acquired from:
The American Life from WBEZ (audio)
NYPD Tapes by Graham Rayman
Runnin’ Scared 5 Part Series