On Saturday, everyone from the ACLU to the NAACP and Al Sharpton's National Action Network gathered to demand the suspension of the NYPD commanding officer caught on tape ordering an officer to target young, black males. To no surprise, the NYPD is defending their own.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne stood behind Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack, writing "Deputy Inspector McCormack did what a good commander is supposed to do. Direct officers under his command to protect the public" in an email. He elaborated:
It's important to note the context of Deputy Inspector McCormack's taped remarks; he was describing suspects in patterns of burglaries and robberies who were victimizing people in a specific part the precinct, not racially profiling. The inspector's concern was that the officer was not focusing on serious crimes—instead the officer was more concerned with people blocking an entrance to a building elsewhere in the precinct. The message was for the officer to go to where the robberies and burglaries occurred, keep his eyes open and take appropriate action in response to suspicious or criminal behavior.
The context of McCormack's comments highlights the pressure that officers are under to meet quotas imposed by union delegates and their commanding officers. In other words, everything you saw on The Wire. McCormack's comments were recorded by officer Pedro Serrano, who told a federal court that "stop-and-frisk" troubled him because his superiors had asked him "to do something that’s illegal, I believe, and I was worried."