A class action lawsuit accuses the NYPD of destroying evidence that cops issued as many as 850,000 bogus summonses in order to fulfill quotas over the past eight years. The suit alleges that officers serving under former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito were pressured to issue more summonses after they failed to meet quotas for low-level crimes, such as traffic offenses. Attorney Elinor Sutton asked city attorneys to provide emails and files regarding summons activity, but has not received even one email on the topic written in the past eight years. “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” the word “summons,” Sutton wrote.
The suit includes quotes of emails and texts leaked by whistleblowers within the NYPD that demonstrate commanding officers telling other cops that they need to fulfill quotas. Queens Lt. Stevelle Brown is accused of destroying text messages in which he denied a cop time off for failing to issue enough traffic summonses. The suit also quotes a text by Sgt. Carly, who wrote, “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.”
City attorneys were not able to find hard copies of any of these texts or emails, which Sutton said is proof that they have been improperly destroyed. “The spoliation of this evidence clearly demonstrates Defendants’ bad-faith, grossly negligent, or at least, negligent destruction of relevant documents,” Sutton wrote. “The (evidence) production confirms what plaintiffs feared but defendants have repeatedly denied: Defendants have destroyed evidence that is unquestionably relevant to this matter.”