The recently retired number three man in the police department wrapped up his testimony at the federal stop and frisk trial but not before raising some eyebrows with his testimony. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Retired NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito testified that he didn't get complaints about racial profiling when it came to the department's stop-and-frisk policy, a statement that seemed to puzzle federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, who said, "You never heard a complaint from any community about that?"
Esposito said he heard maybe from elected officials and the Rev. Al Sharpton, but not from everyday New Yorkers.
"The complaint we get on the street is that, 'I don't know why I was stopped. The officer was rude when he stopped me,'" Esposito said.
Figures show that 88 percent of people who have been stopped and frisked are black or Latino. Attorneys arguing their case charge racial profiling because most are found not to have committed any violation or crime.
"For him to say he never heard any complaints about racial profiling means he's had his hands over his ears for the last 12 years," said Jonathan Moore, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Esposito said he himself was stopped by cops decades ago when he was a plainclothes officer in Brooklyn.
"I don't think they stopped me because I was white," Esposito said. "I think they stopped me because I had long hair and I was maybe acting suspiciously, I'm sure."
When asked how he felt about it, Esposito said, "I was kind of taken aback by it, but I understood."
But many who complain about stop-and-frisk say they weren't acting suspiciously. They say it's used often to meet arrest quotas.
Esposito denied that. He said the NYPD has performance goals to make sure officers are doing their jobs.
"Any company, NY1, Channel 9, Channel 11, there is a certain percentage of people, employees that are going just going to do the least amount of work that they can get away with doing," Esposito said.
He said that if that's allowed with officers, crime could skyrocket.
While questioning Esposito, city lawyers tried to get him to talk about a conversation he had with Commissioner Ray Kelly, but the judge didn't allow it, saying if Kelly wanted to testify, he was more than welcome to come to the courthouse.
So far, the police commissioner is not on any witness list.