Yesterday NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly shrugged off calls for an investigation into the NYPD's ticket quotas, telling reporters, he didn't "see any problem" with two 77th Precinct memos obtained by the Daily News that itemized how many moving violations officers need to hand out in a week. "We have productivity goals, just like your job does, just like any job does," Kelly said yesterday. In light of that, today ABC 7 points us to an incident that was caught on tape last month in Crown Heights, when three men conversing outside a residence at 10 p.m. were stopped by what appear to be rookie cops, ordered to disperse, and then issued summonses for blocking pedestrian traffic.
The sidewalk was virtually empty at the time of the incident, but that didn't stop four eager young officers from approaching the three college students and demanding to see I.D. The trio were chatting on Carroll Street, on the corner of Kingston Avenue, outside a building housing predominantly Jewish residents. Despite the fact that one of the men lived in the building, and they were initially "standing on private property, inside the building's plaza and not on the sidewalk," they were each issued summons.
Also infuriating: CrownHeights.info reports that "one of the officers got into a confrontation with a CrownHeights.info photographer. He demanded that he stop taking pictures and leave the scene. The photographer explained to the officer that he was standing on private property and the officer had no right to tell him what to do." Yosef Bergovoy, one of the Sidewalk Three, tells ABC, "During the hour of detainment, we asked we're standing on the sidewalk, we're standing on private property, what's the problem, who are we disturbing? I don't think we did anything wrong on any level so I was just surprised about it, even a little bit frightened that one day you could be standing talking to a friend and just randomly you have to go to court."
Fighting such a summons can result in victory for the accused, but at the cost of taking a day off work and standing on a long line at the courthouse. The NYPD says the three men "were making a lot of noise and causing pedestrians to go around them into the street." But witnesses insist that's false, and the incident all too neatly dovetails with what we heard on the secret tapes of NYPD supervisors during roll call. "I want a ghost town; I want to hear an echo from one end of the street to the other,"said one supervisor at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx. "You understand, that's what I want in a perfect world. So that's your mission. You guys need collars, you need activity, there you go, they got to be removed."