While Bronx resident Nicholas Peart (pictured left) testified at Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday, he broke down in tears as he recounted his experience with the city’s maligned stop-and-frisk policy, according to the New York Daily News.
“I felt criminalized,” Peart, who is Black, said. “I felt degraded…. I was going to the bodega. It was very upsetting.”
Peart was describing his experience when he went to buy milk for his family. At the time, two officers stopped him near his home and then reportedly took his keys and entered his apartment. The other officer reportedly removed his sneakers and asked if he had any marijuana on him.
Peart didn’t have any contraband on him at the time.
Watch a news report about the lawsuit here:
His experience was exacerbated by the fact that Peart has to care for his three siblings after their mother died from cancer in 2011.
Peart is part of the original class-action lawsuit brought on by four Black New Yorkers in 2008, anchored by the Center For Constitutional Rights. The suit seeks to make stop and frisk unconstitutional and mandate that officers fill out paperwork whenever they frisk New Yorkers.
But they are not alone in their grievances; even an NYPD officer is assisting their lawsuit.
Officer Adhyl Polanco revealed on the stand that he secretly recorded supervisors at his South Bronx precinct mandating quotas for officers.
According to Polanco, they wanted “20 and 1 to 20 summonses and 1 arrest per month.” Officers also allegedly have to perform five stop and frisks per month. Those who failed to comply with this mandate lost overtime hours and had to change shifts, he claims.
“It was not negotiable,” Polanco said. “It was either that or you’re going to become a Pizza Hut deliveryman.”
The trial is likely to go well over a month and include testimony from officers, lawmakers, and constitutional experts; 12 people of color are also expected to speak about their run-ins with stop and frisk.