I-Team: NYPD Detective Files Bias, Retaliation Complaint Over Alleged Quotas

The head of the NYPD has repeatedly said the department has no quotas

What to Know

  • Twelve officers are plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit that alleges the NYPD is violating a 2010 state ban on quotas
  • Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says there are no quotas in the NYPD
  • Some officers say they have been demoted for speaking out about them

Veteran NYPD detective Derick Waller has filed a complaint of racial discrimination and retaliation with the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission claiming the police department punished him for speaking out publicly in an I-Team interview about alleged quotas for arrests and summonses.

Waller and 11 other officers of color are part of the "NYPD 12," plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit that alleges the NYPD is violating a 2010 state ban on quotas, and punishing officers who don’t meet numbers. The police commissioner has repeatedly maintained there are no quotas.

Despite 22 years of experience in the police department, Waller claims he was demoted to a foot post in Crown Heights by commanding officers in the 77th Precinct following an appearance on News 4 New York.

Waller, who worked for years as an undercover cop in Brooklyn, said it’s extremely rare to see an officer with his level of experience walking a foot post.

Waller said for the first time in two years, he received a low monthly evaluation for the month of May. After filing an internal employment complaint that went unanswered, Waller and his attorney, Emeka Nwodoro, decided to pursue a federal complaint.

"It’s clearly retaliation," said Nwodoro.  "Every cop that is told this story, immediately, without knowing all the details, will say that it’s retaliation, so we’re going to file a complaint with the EEOC, the Federal Civil Rights Commission."

Waller told the I-Team he has been subjected to special disciplinary monitoring since 2008 and punished for not meeting numbers. Waller said he recorded a conversation with a senior officer in 2012 who told the detective what he needed to do to get off monitoring. The officer can be heard on tape describing how to use unjustified ticketing as a means to scare people. 

"Yeah, it’s a s----ty thing, but he has his pants down walking across the street, probably up to no good," the officer is heard saying. "Now you write this one guy up for a bull---- ticket or whatever, and next time he sees you, he’ll walk around and go the other way."

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton would not discuss the Waller case but said the other officers in the lawsuit should leave the department if they don't want to do their jobs.

"It’s unfortunate I have some conscientious objectors in this organization who don’t want to do police work," Bratton said. 

Waller said he would like to leave, but he refuses to retire while being monitored.

"I feel like the police department is holding me hostage," he said. "I can’t retire and I won’t retire under those circumstances."

If Waller retired under disciplinary review, he would not be able to get a carry permit for a gun, critical for potential employment.

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