New York Daily News City councilman considers hearing on alleged destruction of evidence by NYPD in summonses cases by Jennifer Fermino
A city councilman said Monday he is considering holding a hearing that will examine a lawyer's explosive allegation that the NYPD and city lawyers aredestroying evidence related to a quota system.
Councilman Ben Kallos's statement came after the Daily News exclusively reported that the city had been unable to produce a single email from the files of former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly or former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito in which they used the words "summons" or related terms.
The lawyer, Elinor Sutton, also said in Manhattan Federal Court filings she has obtained evidence of quotas at the precinct-level that the city has been unable to reproduce - meaning that relevant texts and emails have been destroyed.
"Destruction of evidence is a serious charge and one that the courts will have to decide on as they move forward. The allegations in this case are troubling for anyone who has ever received a ticket they felt was unfair," said Kallos, an attorney and Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee with oversight over the Law Department.
"I will be looking into this matter, and will consider a hearing on both these allegations and how we can provide improved enforcement information to our communities."
Kallos said he would also push for greater transparency regarding police activity through a bill proposing "Open Crime Maps" that would place criminal and non-criminal summonses on an online map that could easily be analyzed.
Neither Esposito — who is now commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management — or Kelly responded to requests for comment.
Meanwhile another City Councilman, Rory Lancman, said the fight over evidence in the summons suit was a reminder that the NYPD maintained "an unofficial quota system that overwhelmingly impacted communities of color" under Kelly.
Lancman, who is among the loudest voices calling for reform of Broken Windows policing, said the NYPD's alleged destruction of evidence didn't surprise him.
“For too long cops’ productivity was measured by how many criminal summonses they wrote for low-level, quality-of-life offenses that were ultimately dismissed, an unofficial quota system that overwhelmingly impacted communities of color,” Lancman said.
“I'm not surprised that the City is reluctant to release information documenting this system of abuse.”
The class action suit in 2010 alleges that police have issued some 850,000 shoddy summonses due to an unofficial quota system in the NYPD.
The NYPD has denied that such a system exists. A city attorney said Sutton’s 15-page letter alleging destruction of evidence was “short on meritorious claims.”