Human Rights

NYPD and NYC Attorneys Accused of Destroying Proof That Cops Are Writing Bogus Tickets to Hit Quotas

A New York Daily News report accuses the two groups of colluding to cover up evidence of bogus ticket-writing.

Photo Credit: CristinaMuraca /

In an exclusive report by the New York Daily News, the NYPD and city attorneys have been accused of colludingwith each other to cover up evidence that New York City cops have been writing thousands of bogus tickets after being pressured by their superiors to hit quotas.

In a filing submitted in Manhattan Federal Court, attorney Elinor Sutton writes that a review of  emails written by former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito failed to turn up one mention of the word “summons” since 2007.

“It is simply not tenable that Commissioner Kelly and Chief Esposito did not — in the entire period of 2007 through the present — write or receive emails using terms (related to the word) “summons,” Sutton wrote.


According to the filing, the word is mysteriously missing from the writings of other NYPD brass, leading her to conclude that the department is destroying evidence of a quota system.

While documents by police leaders appears to have been cleaned up, the filing includes evidence of quotas being discussed at the street level, with one memo criticizing cops for racking up overtime with few arrests to show for it.

“It’s ridiculous to have 50+  hours with one arrest,” the  memo reads, before noting four officers with overtime ranging from 52 to 69 hours with comments on how few arrests they made and an admonishment to “please monitor them.”

Sutton alleges that Police Lt. Stevelle Brown implemented a ticket quota in Queens’ 105th Precinct and has since destroyed text messages from the supervisor refusing to give a cop time off  because he failing to meet goals for traffic summonses.

An exchange provided to the court showed one officer — identified only as Sgt. Carty — criticizing a cop for not issuing enough seat-belt violation tickets.

“We missed seat belt number by 30 last week unacceptable. if need be u guys will go with me 2 traffic stat 2 explain why u missed,” the text reads.

According to the court documents: “Defendants have shredded, and are continuing to shred, hard-copy documents” from CompStat meetings where crime statistics are analyzed by NYPD brass, citing testimony from a lieutenant who managed the CompStat unit of the Office of the Chief of Department.

A study conducted by the John Jay College-College of Criminal Justice found that 18 percent of summonses between 2003 and 2013 were dismissed due to legal insufficiency.

According to the court filing, city attorneys advised the NYPD to maintain records back in in 2010, bit it took until 2013 for the police to comply.

Proof that cops were writing bogus summonses could lead to thousands of pending cases to be  subject to more scrutiny and thrown out.

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Tom Boggioni is a senior editor at Raw Story.