The trial has provided a rare window into the NYPD, with about a dozen officials testifying on how they do their jobs. Officers are told to stop the “the right people, at the right time in the right location,” a phrase first heard in the early days of the case on a secret recording made by one whistleblower officer during a heated exchange over his performance evaluation. Since then, it has been repeated by nearly every official who testified.
“It’s a tool that needs to be used properly, and as borough commanders you should have adequate checks and balances in place, and you should be looking at them with your staff,” said Deputy Chief James Hall, who is in charge of patrol. “There is a focus on when it is used … right time, right location, you know, right individual.”
Police have said the phrase means the location where crimes have been occurring, at the time they have been occurring, and an individual who matches the description of a crime suspect, or someone who appears about to commit a crime. Lawyers for the men who have sued say, though, that the phrase is code for targeting blacks and Hispanics in poor neighborhoods.
Plaintiffs say a court monitor must be appointed to facilitate changes in training, supervision and the documentation of street stops. An expert for the city testified that the department has already enough checks and balances already in place.
The tactic has become a city flashpoint, with the mayor and police commissioner defending it is a necessary crime-fighting tool, and other city lawmakers calling for major change.