The quota system, stop and frisk and the zero-tolerance policy have been forcing minorities into jail for minor crimes, creating a vicious cycle of poverty and mass incarceration. Bigoted commanders have been using the “broken windows” theory as a cover for inherently racist behavior. This theory states that neighborhoods that appear disorderly will increase further crime, and law enforcement must take action on minor crimes to prevent more serious crimes.
Due to severe crime in the nineties, Rudy Giuliani and police commissioner William Bratton had been advocates for this method of policing. The increased police presence in predominantly low-income minority neighborhoods has led to petty arrests and a deep distrust in the police force.
In 2018, there are still policing methods that have a strong racial bias, and one method, in particular, that is outright illegal. The quota system is prohibited in New York. Legally, police should not be rewarded for the number of bodies they put into jail, with the easy prey always being vulnerable men of color. The Prison Policy Initiative states that 97% of people in jail have never seen trial, being forced to plead guilty or bear the risk of longer sentencing. African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites (NAACP).
The punishment and labor of incarcerated black men is a billion dollar industry, being profited by big business and government. According to market research from IBIS World, “Private correctional facilities were a $4.8 billion industry last year, with profits of $629 million.” Businesses like McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret and Wal-Mart profit from the cheap cost of prison labor, paying inmates less than fifteen cents an hour. The prison industrial complex is akin to modern day slavery.
Edwin Raymond, a sergeant of the NYPD and Brooklyn local, is shattering the broken windows policing theory. Disturbed by the immorality of these unjust policies, Raymond has been working from the inside to fight for reform. Sergeant Raymond is one of the officers in the NYPD 12, a group of twelve police officers who filed a class action lawsuit against the NYPD for enforcing quotas that have disproportionately impacted communities of color.
In a recent documentary, Crime, and Punishment directed by Stephen Maing, Raymond took a hard stance on the racially charged practices that commanders of the NYPD enforce. Raymond has become a public figure in the fight for abolishing the quota system and protecting fellow whistleblowers. Attending numerous press conferences, news interviews, and public discussions he is continuously facing fierce opposition for speaking his truth.
As our nation’s history has shown, authorities who did not want change in the status quo, launched direct attacks at the organization’s leaders in order to divide communities and deter the progress of their cause. In the Civil Rights Movement, leaders like Malcolm X and Angela Davis were portrayed as “America’s greatest threats” and the FBI relentlessly pursued defaming their character and cause. With Raymond being one of the key figures in the fight for police reform, the media has been slandering him in a similar fashion.
The New York Post went as far as writing a false article centered around allegations of Raymond “Giving a domestic violence suspect a slide for being black”. Outside of the media accusations, Raymond is facing the harshest attacks from his own police force. After openly supporting Colin Kaepernick, Sergeant Raymond has been denied promotion to lieutenant. His fight for social justice has been labeled as “anti-cop” and he has faced many personal attacks on his character.
Refusing to make arrests based on numbers, has disrupted the career of Raymond and other officers of the NYPD 12. Despite scoring a 97% on his Lieutenant’s exam, he was given poor evaluations by his commanders and placed under investigation for his progressive beliefs.
In a personal post on his private Facebook, Raymond states, “I’ve accepted that attacks are part of being a change agent, but if the people don’t do their part in supporting us we won’t last long. You have no idea how it feels to speak truth to power from WITHIN and have to go back in 5 days a week where 95% of the people you work with are wary of and some outright hate you.”
If you believe that marginalized neighborhoods should not be terrorized by the quota system, and police should be rewarded by the peace they bring to underserved communities, join the fight for police reform. Officers like Sergeant Raymond have put their livelihoods, reputation, and safety on the line for change. It is time for the general public to stand on the moral side of history.