Audio published Tuesday by The Nation purports to show a New York police union representative confessing that he worked out a set of quotas for tickets and arrests that officers would have to meet on a monthly basis, despite the union's supposed commitment to advocating for their members.

The audio was recorded in 2009 by officer Adil Polanco, taken from a meeting at the NYPD's Bronx precinct office. It features a delegate of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association explaining that he worked out a 20-1 ratio of tickets to arrests that each officer must carry out each month, or face recriminations.

"I spoke to the CO [commanding officer] for about an hour-and-a-half," a union representative is heard saying. "20-and-1. 20-and-1 is what the union is backing up... They spoke to the trustees, and that’s what they want. They want 20-and-1."

The same audio was released to the media in 2010, but portions featuring the union delegate went unaired, according to The Nation. Polanco alleges that the quota system resulted in numerous false arrests and inaccurate or fabricated citations, but the brass just called their expectations "productivity goals."

Those goals, combined with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "stop and frisk" policy, led to an enforcement system with a vast racial imbalance and skyrocketing small drug arrests, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The audio is a centerpiece of the class action lawsuit Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., currently underway in New York. The lawsuit was brought by groups representing New Yorkers who've been unjustly stopped, ticketed or arrested as a result of these policies. If the plaintiffs are victorious, the ruling could remake how the department trains new officers and enshrine a court-appointed overseer to monitor inter-departmental policies.

This video was published to YouTube on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.


Photo: Flickr user Warm Sleepy, creative commons licensed.