NYPD Officer Sues Police Department Over Unofficial Get Out Of Jail Free Cards, which were used by friends and relatives of police officers to avoid fines for traffic violations. The edition told in more detail Jalopnik.
Officer Matthew Bianchi has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court over pressure he was subjected to by his superiors for failing to comply with corrupt and unauthorized practices. According to Bianchi's lawsuit, it doesn't take long to earn a card, and it can even be found for sale on eBay.
Bianchi described the practice of selective enforcement with consequences for officers who do not follow the unwritten policy. Current and retired officers now have access to hundreds of cards, handing them out in exchange for a discount on food or home improvement work, he said.
In the Staten Island area where he works, a predominantly white area with a high percentage of cops and other city workers, Bianchi said that a lot of the people he stopped for traffic violations showed him one of the cards.
“I see map after map,” he said. “We shouldn’t show favoritism when we stop cars, and we shouldn’t give out cards because someone is mowing my lawn.”
Bianchi was threatened with demotion and loss of union protection for not exonerating drivers with cards from liability for traffic violations. The issuance of a ticket to a friend of the highest ranking NYPD officer, Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, resulted in him being sent on night patrol.
Before the trial, Bianchi tried to use other channels to have his concerns heard by filing a complaint with the Bureau of the Interior. And, of course, there is also a racial component to unofficial politics.
“Even though the car stop was a standard non-confrontational stop, I am still under pressure just because the motorist I stopped knows the boss and that boss is now mad at me,” he wrote in the complaint. “This is not only corruption, but also a security issue.”
He argued that selective law enforcement practices, including giving out cards in exchange for a discount on food or home improvement work, had a component of racial bias.
Staten Island, where Bianchi patrolled, is predominantly white. The complaint states that white drivers in the area are "significantly more likely to have cards than drivers of other races." As a result, this means that "cops are forced to disproportionately issue tickets to drivers of non-white races."
Ronnie Dunn, an urban studies professor at the University of Cleveland who has written a number of scholarly articles on structural racism in ticketing practices, said what Bianchi claims is a form of bias.
“This is not only racially biased because non-whites are less likely to receive cards based on police demographics, but also creates a status bias because the cards give family and friends of law enforcement officers and predominantly European Americans impunity for traffic violations. origin,” Dunn said.
The NYPD is constantly under scrutiny for suspicious activity in their precincts. The department is under investigation after Chief Maddry wrongly punished an officer for threatening children with a gun. Recently, CCTV cameras caught a police car trying to crash into a moped driver. They park their cars on the sidewalks of New York City, and NYPD car accidents have cost the city more than half a billion dollars over the past decade.