Pedro Serrano: Secret Recordings Prove Racial Profiling In NYPD Stop And Frisk

April V. Taylor

Pedro Serrano is an officer with the NYPD’s 40th precinct who secretly recorded his superiors telling him and other officers to target Black and Hispanic men between the ages of 14 and 21 to be stopped and frisked and that they had to meet certain stop and frisk quotas.   Serrano reported that he and other officers were required to participate in van hunts where officers would ride around and a sergeant would point out people for the officers to write up.  Serrano also reported that officers were required to write people up for minor offenses including “unreasonable noise,” “bicycle on sidewalk,” and “unlawfully in park after hours.”  According to Serrano’s statements,  officers operated under the theory that by flooding places that were considered criminal hot spots with cops and giving out summonses and performing stop and frisks that more serious crimes would be prevented.  Seemingly as a result of these tactics, the 40th Precinct had the highest number of police stops in the Bronx in 2011.

In describing an incident where such an unconstitutional stop happened, he states, “…they rolled up to this poor Mexican guy sitting on the stairs and said: ‘Write him.’ I’m looking at Sarge, like, ‘What am I writing him for?’ The sarge said blocking pedestrian traffic.”  Serrano states that he did as he was told, but he advised the men as he was writing their tickets that he was violating their rights and that they should write his name down and he would be a witness for them if they decided to sue the department.

The recordings Serrano made began when an officer gave him a video pen that he clipped to the front of his uniform pocket.  He began using that and later an iPhone hoping that the recordings would protect him if he ever ran into serious trouble with his bosses as he had already experienced retaliation for speaking out about the unfairness of quotas and racial profiling.  Serrano’s recordings include Lieutenant Stacy Barnett instructing officers that she was looking for the each to have five summonses or write-ups.  This directly conflicts with the NYPD’s long held claim that they do not have quotas for summonses or write-ups.

Another recording Serrano made included a lieutenant talking about “five-five-five,” during a roll call.  This demand was shorthand for officers being required to produce five summonses, five write-ups, and five “verticals,” which were sweeps of apartment buildings.  Serrano also got a recording where cops were told to do “one and twenty,” which refers to one arrest and twenty summonses in a month.

Serrano eventually testified in U.S. District Court in the trial of Floyd v. City of New York, regarding the racial profiling used in the enforcement of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy.  His testimony lasted for two days as he discussed the pressure placed on officers as superiors shifted between soft and hard quotas about how many stop and frisks officers should perform and his superior McCormack advising him to stop black men between the ages of 14 and 21.

The case eventually led to the NYPD’s implementation of stop and frisk being ruled unconstitutional and an independent monitor being appointed to oversee reform efforts at the NYPD regarding stop and frisk.  Serrano’s recording and testimony were an integral part of the case’s decision as he help provide irrefutable evidence of the department’s use of racial profiling and quotas.




14 Comment

  1. Officer Serrano is to be commended for his efforts because, this shows that there are police officers who have a conscience and are not caught up in that "good ole boy" network.

  2. I hate corruption and lies! Praise God for police officers who have a conscience and want to do what is right.

  3. Now this an example of good police work

  4. God always bring the true out eventually and this man knew that what was going on was wrong to the peoples……Thanks Officer

  5. As usual, the status quo likes to hide behind the accusations that we, black people are paranoid and we don’t like the police. This one police officer with a conscience has evidence to prove what we’ve said all along that the police have racial quotas and they absolutely racially profile black people, especially black men. They go out of their way to refute every accusation made by black people because they know that White people are eager to believe them and that’s all that their concerned about. Only Black people typically believe theses accusations because we know they are real and not made up. This is why white people are eager to support the police but we’re not because of the treatment that we get from cops ( White, Black, Latin and Asian). This has been our history with cops because they know that any accusations made about Black people are believed by most people. We’re not crazy and we know racism when we see it. We’ve been dealing with it since we were brought to this country as slaves and it continues to this day.

    I don’t want anyone to try to tell me about racism because I’ve lived it, dealt with it and know it when I see it.

  6. I made more then twenty deliveries to the area of Stop and Frisk. I don't doubt the constitutionality of the program, but have few doubts as it is effectiveness in the communities that I made deliveries too. Now that Stop and frisk has been abandoned by the NYPD I won't step foot in many of those same communities in fear for my safety. I know of many residents in those communities who have return to living under a cloak of fear from the criminals that inhibited them, and preyed daily on the residents, especially the senior residents. We must allow some latitude in the apprehension and seizure of criminals that have made our communities a safe haven for criminal activity.

  7. Arthur robinson your an idiot. Its unconstitutional. Malcolm would call you a house negro. Scared of your own . You sound just like the slavemaster.

  8. What Malcolm would have called me during his time with the Nation Of Islam and what he would have called me, once he was free of the White Racism of Elijah Muhammad are distinctive views, based upon the enlighten of Malcolm and the Freedoms to express his political view. We always want to quote Malcolm during his enslavement to Islam, but never quote Malcolm as the emancipated thinker? We want to quote Malcolm when it fits within our frame of victim, rather than retrospection and introspection of our contributory negligence. If the situation in NY City as in many of the African American Communities had, or would be approached from the Malcolm, as well as other '' Black Nationalist '', rather than '' Black Racist '', sociology than we as men would be policing our own communities, securing our children from the debase social images, and our children would not be failing in school. No Anthony Allen the House Niggers are those, such as yourself, who want to quota Malcolm in their convenience, but disregard his major objectives for the liberation of the African American Community: Respect and self determination. So the next time you want to see a House Nigger go outside of your home and look at the social dysfunction and do an introspection as to your contributory negligence, rather than a racial ideology.

  9. Anthony Allen. The question is not the constitutnality of the Stop and Frisk Program. The issue is that such a program had to be initiated on non-constitutional grounds to attack the level of violence in our various communities. Police has killed between 1999 and 2013 1.331.oo African Americans Nation wide, according to the Department of Justice, but between 2013 – 2014 African American Youth in the City of Chicago alone has murdered 4 times that number. But when this issue is addressed by those in the African American Community for Justice. by any means necessary, they are met by the House Nigger with slanderous allegations of traitor, House Nigger, Uncle Tom and the quotes of the enslave mind of Malcolm X. Who was liberated from this frame of thinking once he was free to exercise his liberated mind. But the enlighten African American, who is of the opinion that Black Nationalism can be accomplished by means of exercising Black Racism, the identical racist ideology he condemns, has lead the Black Agenda and have accomplished nothing in the past 50 yrs. but to lead our children in the direction of social benevolence, academic illiteracy, high unemployment and a frame of mind of social welfare and entitlement based in a racist ideology of JUST US.

  10. and people wonder why Blacks and Latinos don't trust the POLICE!

  11. I was told a story about one of my coworkers being repremanded by one of his supervisors for some infraction that they claim he commited one day, the supervisor told him I hope you know your in trouble. His reply was i don't need you to tell me I'm in trouble, ever since the Black Man has been in America He's been in trouble.Because of His bold candor I found this story to be humorous. i have had several years to reflect on that story, and after learning about the recent events that have taken place in Florida, Ferguson, and New York. and a few other places that don't readily come to mind I see that He was right in more ways than I can imagine.

  12. I sympathize with how you feel about being afraid of being victimized by criminals, but there has got to be a better way than havin your civil rights violated and compromised.

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