NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco Speaks Out Against Stop And Frisk In Video

October 8, 2013
Huffington Post

A New York City police officer is speaking out against the department's stop-and-frisk policy in a new video.

Adhyl Polanco, an officer since 2005, has become an outspoken critic of the NYPD's policy, which critics say disproportionately targets blacks and Latinos for police stops. He recorded his supervisors asking beat cops to meet a monthly arrest quota and testified in the recent federal trial that found New York City's use of stop and frisk unconstitutional.

"This is not what I became a cop for," Polanco says of stop and frisk in the video, which was produced by the reform advocacy group Communities United for Police Reform and released on YouTube on Monday. "This is not what I wanted to do."

A Vera Institute of Justice study released last month found that the experience of being stopped made New Yorkers less likely to trust the police. New York City is currently appealing a federal judge's recent ruling against stop and frisk, which prompted outrage from critics at a Monday rally.

Polanco says in the video that being a cop was his "dream" growing up. But things changed once he got on the job. His turning point, he says, came when he was forced to handcuff an innocent 13-year-old just walking home from school.

"It's a really humiliating feeling," said Polanco of the stop and frisks, which the Dominican Republic native has himself experienced in the heavily Latino Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. "When they go through your pockets, when they stop you, you don't have no freedom."

When Polanco started speaking out -- first internally, and then through the press -- he was suspended and slapped with departmental charges.

"There's a lot of things that could be making the community safer," Polanco says in the video. "But stopping and harassing innocent people is not going to make the community safer."