During the second week of testimony on New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, an officer admitted to detaining and then mocking a 13-year-old boy when he started crying. Though the boy was innocent, he was still cuffed and brought to the station:
Appearing on the stand Wednesday, police officer Brian Dennis testified that he had taunted a 13-year-old boy after he detained him. Dennis told the handcuffed child, Devin Almonor, to “stop crying like a little girl.”
The teen was reportedly stopped on the street in Harlem when he reached into his pants’ waste-band. The two officers that stopped him claimed to have been searching for a firearm, but Almonor was found to be carrying no weapons. He was nonetheless handcuffed, taunted and taken to the stationhouse.
Dennis conceded that he no longer thought the taunt was appropriate, but another officer, Jonathan Korabel, maintained the stop of the boy was a “lawful frisk.” He claimed the teen was jaywalking and started “yelling and making a scene” when officers tried to frisk him.
Almonor is hardly the NYPD’s youngest target. In December, the police were once again sued for cuffing and arresting a 7-year-old boy for stealing $5 from a classmate. Lawsuits over police misconduct cost the city $22 million in just one year.
The current case, Floyd v. City of New York, has exposed many harrowing new details about stop-and-frisk. Last week, other officers testified that they were pressured to meet quotas of 5 stop and frisks, 20 summons and 1 arrest every month. Another cop recorded his superior instructing him to specifically target “male blacks 14 to 21” years old.
These instructions have been carried out with gusto; in 2011, the NYPD stopped young black men more times than the total number of young black men in all of New York City. Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, more than 86 percent of the people stopped by the police were black or Latino. Almost 90 percent of these stops resulted in no ticket or arrest.