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Emotions Run High On Day 2 Of Stop-And-Frisk Trial

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TWC News: Emotions Run High In Stop-And-Frisk Trial
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The trial over the city police department's stop, question and frisk policy resumed Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan, where three more plaintiffs recalled their experiences with the controversial stops.

A judge began hearing arguments Monday in a class-action lawsuit that claims the practice is unconstitutional.

Among those taking the stand Tuesday was NYPD officer Adhyl Polanco, who worked out of precincts in the Bronx.

Polanco, who's been on the job since 2005, told the court that there are quotas in the police department. He said that his bosses at his South Bronx precinct demanded that officers write at least 20 summonses, make one arrest and do five stop-and-frisks per month.

"They said, 'You do it or you are going to become a Pizza Hut delivery man,'" Polanco said in court Tuesday.

Polanco said he made audio tapes of the demands, which will be played in court this week, along with recordings from other officers.

"I started recording it because I could not believe what I was hearing," he said in court.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the testimony illustrated why there is so much hostility between police and young black and Latino men in the community.

"That's why there's such an epidemic in these communities of people getting stopped and frisked," said attorney Jonathan Moore. "Because the police are told to get numbers. And they're not interested in the numbers of radio runs or how they help. They're interested in arrests, summons and 250s. At the end of the day, that's what this case is about. That's why this case is so important, because this case has to end."

A 250 is the form officers fill out when they conduct a stop, question and frisk.

At least two other officers are expected to testify about the quotas, which the department denied having.

Nicholas Peart, a 24-year-old Harlem man who said he was stopped back in 2011 while walking to the store to get some milk, also testified.

He said that police officers rolled up, pushed him against a church wall and started to search him.

He went on to testify that at one point, officers put him in handcuffs, placed him in the back of a squad car and took off his shoes while asking him if he had drugs or weapons.

The 24-year-old also said officers took his keys and went into his apartment building, adding that he became fearful for his safety and that of his brothers and sisters.

"People should not be stopped for going to the gym or going to the corner store," he said. "That's not keeping the city safe."

Peart broke down in tears while telling his story in court.

"I didn't think it would become so emotional," Peart said. "The step-by-step process of going through my stop-and-frisk, it got to me."

Peart said he's been stopped, questioned and frisked multiple times.

City lawyers got him to admit that officers did explain to him that he fit the description of a crime suspect.

The police department said that officers only stop, question and frisk people they think might be involved in crimes.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said the NYPD reached its five-millionth stop under the policy this month.

Critics of the policy argued that it unfairly targets minorities.

"My brother, my nephew, my dentist, my minister, my neighbors, members of my community who have done absolutely nothing were stopped and frisked illegally," said City Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn.

"We're here today standing in solidarity with advocates and activists and community members from Brooklyn. We're just home to too many unlawful stops," said Nahal Zamani of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The lawsuit asks that a court-appointed monitor oversee broad reforms to the policy.

Stop, question and frisk is currently a legal tactic which requires "reasonable suspicion," rather than the more strict guidelines of "probable cause."

The city disputed any charges of racial profiling, saying that stop-and-frisk gets guns off the streets, cuts crime and saves lives.

They also argued that the plaintiffs' stories may have evolved to seem more dramatic in the years since they were stopped.

Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced Tuesday that council members have reached a "broad agreement" on a bill to get an inspector general to oversee the NYPD, as well as another measure to stop racial profiling. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP