Meet The 17-Year-Old Who Blew The Lid Off Racial Profiling With His iPod

"We're going to go out there and violate some rights." Hear the secret police recordings that will take your breath away. In a bad way.

Transcript:
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Alvin: Yo, I just got stopped like two blocks ago, yo.
Officer 1: You know why? You look very suspicious.
Alvin: Because you're always looking I'm craz-
Alvin: Why are you try-
Officer 1: You fuckin' with me? You fuckin' took the shit. Take a fuckin' walk.
Alvin: Yo, why you push me like that for?
Officer 1: Shut your fuckin' mouth before I slap you.
Alvin: Why you push me like that for? Why you push me like that?
Officer 2: That's exactly how some shit will go down, just like that. Just like that. People don't like police because of the harassment, and what civilian's don't understand is that the police department is forcing us to do these unreasonable stops or you're going to get penalized.

Female Reporter 1: The mayor seemed completely unapologetic about the practice. He said it has to go forward, it's necessary. Do you have the same ...
Ray Kelly: I think the mayor's absolutely correct.
Male Reporter: Some people are very hurt by it and upset when they're stopped unnecessarily.
Ray Kelly: I understand that. At the very least, you're taking away people's time, so I understand people may not be happy with it. I can also assure you that I go to the communities, communities of color. People want more.
Male Reporter: [inaudible 00:02:05]
Ray Kelly: Absolutely.
Officer 1: I had this captain who walked into the precinct and gave a speech about harassing the public. His words were, "We're going to go out there, and we're going to violate some rights." We hear it from the captain down. We want 250s. This is stop, question and, frisk.
Victim: Yeah, 116th Street between Madison and Park. He just stops me. and then pushes me. telling me he's going to punch me in my face.
Alvin: I was walking home from my girlfriend's house, and a cop car went past me. A couple of seconds later, I heard the car turn around, and they just popped out. They all jumped out of the car.

I decided to record it because I was getting stopped a lot, and I didn't have evidence of cop being disrespectful or anything, so I would hit the button and record the whole thing.
Officer 1: Oh you again, man.
Alvin: I just got stopped like two blocks ago.
Officer 1: You know why? You look very suspicious.
Alvin: Because you're always looking I'm crazy.
Officer 1: Because you keep looking back at us, man. Don't do that shit.
Sergeant: Why does he have an empty book bag?
Alvin: Because you're always looking crazy, yo, coming up the block. Always.
Officer 1: Cops are looking for a jogger, man.
Alvin: [inaudible 00:03:20]
Officer 1: Listen to me. Our job is to look for suspicious behavior. When you keep looking at us like that, looking back ...
Alvin: Because you're always stopping ... I just got stopped like two blocks away.

Sergeant: Put your hands up.
Officer 1: Because you keep doing that shit, man. Listen to me. When you were walking the block with your hood up, and you keep looking back at us like that ...
Sergeant: Why do you have a fuckin' empty book bag?
Officer 1: We think you might have something.
Alvin: Because I have my hoodie in there.
Sergeant: They do that. You have your hoodie on your body. Why you a fuckin' wise ass?
Alvin: well, It was cold.
Sergeant: You want me to smack you?
Alvin: You're going to smack me?
Sergeant: Yeah.
Alvin: You're going to smack me?
Officer 1: You a wise ass?
Alvin: No, you asked me why I had a book bag on.
Officer 1: Who the fuck are you talking to?
Alvin: You asked me why I had a book bag on.
Officer 1: Who the fuck do you think you're talking to man?
Alvin: You asked me if I had a book bag on.
Officer 1: Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?
Sergeant: Shut your fuckin' mouth. Come on.
Alvin: Why are you touching me for?

He was holding me. He was going through my pockets. He was going up, down, he was going through my sweater. That's when he told me keep my hands on my head, so I was like this the whole time.
Officer 1: You want to go to jail?
Alvin: What for?
Officer 1: Shut your fuckin' mouth, kid.
Alvin: What am I getting arrested for?
Officer 1: Shut your mouth.
Alvin: What am I getting arrested for?

Officer 1: For being a fucking mutt! You know that?

Alvin: That's a law, being a mutt?

Officer 1: Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?
Sergeant: Do you want to go to jail?
Alvin: Because you're over here telling me, why I have a book bag, why I have a book bag on? I said, "For my hoodie."

He decided to take my hand from here, and he put it behind my back, like that.

Why you putting my arm all the way back there?
Officer 1: Shut your fuckin' mouth.
Alvin: You're asking the questions.
Officer 1: Weren't you a fuckin Explorer at one point?
Alvin: I was.
Sergeant: Your dad's on the job?
Officer 1: Show some fuckin' respect.
Alvin: Because you're always stopping me for no reason.

Sergeant: Do you want somebody talking to your dad like this?
Alvin: Why? Why are you pushing me?
Sergeant: I will break your fuckin' arm off right now.
Alvin: You're going to break my arm.
Sergeant: Yeah.
Alvin: For what?
Sergeant: Dude, I am going to fuckin' break your arm, and then I'm going to punch you in the fuckin' face.
Officer 1: Who's your father? Your father got a job?
Alvin: You're going to punch me in my face?

He don't got a phone.
Officer 1: In traffic?
Alvin: Yep.
Officer 1: He's a traffic cop?
Sergeant: Figures.
Officer 1: A traffic cop.
Alvin: Okay, he's a traffic ...
Officer 1: Shut the fuck up.
Alvin: why you push me like that for?
Officer 1: Shut your fuckin' mouth.
Alvin: Why you push me like that for?

While the sergeant's holding me like this, he's like, "I'm going to break your arm." I'm like, "You're going to break my arm?" He's like, "Yeah, and I'm going to punch you in the face."

I was like, "You're going to punch me in the face," and he's like, "Yeah."
He's like, "And then I'm going to arrest you." I'm like, "You're going to arrest me for what?" He's like, "For being a mutt."

He grabbed me by my book bag, and he started pushing me down. I'm going backwards down the hill, and he just kept pushing me and pushing me. He looked like he was going to hit me. I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back.
Recording: What are doing?
Why you push me like that for?
Put your book down. I swear to God. Why you push me like that for?
Take a fuckin' walk. Why you ...
Take a fuckin' walk. Why you ...
You fuckin mutt! You fuckin' took the shit. Take a fuckin' walk. Yo, why you touch me like that?
Trevor: I'm mad just hearing that. Not many words really could describe that. It's just disturbing, but that's exactly what's happening. I could relate to what he's doing because I know that situation. They just don't got no respect for us, and they wonder why we don't have respect for them.

For them to call him a name like that, that's just crazy.
Interviewer: I think that during stops that some police officers try to provoke so that they can justify an arrest?
Officer 2: Of course they do. A lot of police officers be trying to set civilians off, and then once they start talking, start cursing, they can lock them up for anything.

There was two minorities leaning against the wall. They weren't doing anything. My sergeant ordered me to write them, "Blocking pedestrian traffic" If you're a certain ethnicity standing on the corner, lieutenants, sergeants, they have no problem searching you, violating your rights, and racial profiling.

There was one statement that the sergeant said about what he used to do. He used to stop a guy walking down the street with baggy pants, his underwear hanging out. He'd just stop him. He says, "I know he's probably up to nothing, but I just stopped him anyway just to get a 250."
Trevor: There's one cop that everybody in the neighborhood knows. It happened to us like three times already. He was like, "Now, come here."

They got out of the car, they threw my friend on the car. I'm still walking. He spun me around and punched me in my stomach. They started patting us down, and they just left us there.
Ray Kelly: What we're trying to do is make certain that it's done as professionally as possible; proper respect is shown, and done according to the law.
Julio Valentin: This goes all the way up to Commissioner's office. I'd say even the Mayor's office, where they're trying to be proactive and say, "Look, we're stopping people. We're getting drugs and guns off the streets."

Of the 600,000 people that were stopped last year, only 1% of those that were stopped were carrying weapons.
Reporter 1: The NYPDs controversial Stop and Frisk policy ...
Reporter 2: NYPD program known as Stop and Frisk also ..
Reporter 3: Last year, New York police officers stopped and interrogated people nearly 686,00 times.
Reporter 4: A federal judge ruled today that a lawsuit raised serious questions about quotas, racial profiling, and constitutional rights.
Julio Valentin: The public isn't aware of what's happening, but everything is being looked at as far as numbers. It's a number game.

What did you get last year? You have to match it, and give me more this year.
Officer 3: We're just looking at your activity based on other people's activity within your command. They feel that you've been below standard.

All I'm asking you is to avoid anything further. Do a little bit more.
Officer 2: I'll work on it.
Officer 3: It's not that hard to a 250. I ain't going to lie. When I was doing my first 250 first time coming out, I was big on not "I'm not stopping nobody for no 250." But then I kept getting hit and hit hard about, "You need to do 250s, you need to do 250s."

So, I started doing them just to keep the heat off of myself because I didn't want to be in no type of monitoring or anything like that. I did the 250s just to do them.

So, will you use your ...
Officer 4: Yes, I'll do some writing.
Officer 2: They're trying to keep all of this stuff quiet. This is my proof that they're putting pressure on me to write summonses.
Julio Valentin: Commanders are trying to be proactive or show that they're being proactive. Here you have a system where people are told, "Get those numbers to where they should be, and you're going to get your promotion."
Officer 2: The Commanding Officer wants to become a Deputy Inspector. The Executive Officer wants to become a Commanding Officer. If you do well by keeping arrests up and the summonses up, you will be promoted to the next rank.

They put pressure on the police officers to generate numbers and arrests.
Julio Valentin: Let's be real, it is a quota. Nobody wants to call it that, but that's what it is. They call it a performance objective, they call it a goal. They can mask it however they want. It's a quota, and it does exist.
Officer 4: Some of us under the stress make them up. Some of us under the stress stop innocent people and search them. There are certain units out there that will just run around and stop everybody.
Officer 2: What happens to the officer if they don't do what the police department tells them to do as far as these quotas, they will come after you. Come after you meaning transfers, give you low evaluations.
Officer 4: They give you unwanted assignments, put you in a post which is very dangerous, high crime, by yourself, in a corner. This is a form of retaliation.
Officer 2: Basically, a change of tours, put you on a midnight. They make you look bad on paperwork, and that paperwork will trail you for the rest of your police career.
Officer 4: Knowing that your livelihood's at stake, you meet the quota.
Julio Valentin: It does create this feeling of, "Hey listen, I've got to get my numbers." When you put that pressure on the officer, this us-
versus-them mentality does exist.
Officer 2: When I came into this police department, I wanted to help people, but the civilian population is being hunted. Instead of being protected by us, they're being hunted, and we're being hated.
Officer 4: The police department is pushing the new guys to be bounty hunters, and I use that word because that's exactly what it is. They're hunting.
Officer 2: There's a lot of officers who are fed up and want to do something about it, and there's people who are scared.
Julio Valentin: There's a lot of officers that would like to tell their story, but nobody wants to hear the truth. Nobody wants to hear the bad.
Officer 4: We need police, but the police department needs to change things.
Alvin: At one point, I did want to be a cop to help people and mostly just be able to wear a badge and the uniform, be proud of it, but now I feel like I'm not sure because they're not there to help people any more. They're just there to stop them, humiliate them, make them feel bad.

There's no excuses for the way they treated me.
Officer 2: This one individual who was thinking about doing NYPD, the first thing I told him is, "Definitely not. This job -- racial profiles
-- will force you to do things that you don't want to do." We're supposed to be the best in the world. We're the best at making money, and we're the best at arresting and summonsing everybody.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

ORIGINAL: By The Nation. Found on the inimitable Dominic Powell's Facebook page. If you live in New York City and want to keep the NYPD honest, download the Stop & Frisk app to record your encounter like Alvin did.

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Alvin Melathe

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