NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD’s former top uniformed officer was back on the stand Wednesday in the stop-and-frisk trial in Manhattan federal court.
Today, Joseph Esposito, who just retired as Chief of Department after over 44 years on the force, testified about allegations made by St. Sen. Eric Adams during the trial.
Esposito said that he’d heard that Adams claimed to have attended a meeting where Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told elected officials that the NYPD targets young black and Hispanic men for stop-and-frisk in order to instill fear in them so they won’t carry guns when they leave their homes.
Esposito was asked if this is NYPD policy.
“Of course not,” he replied.
“Did you ever communicate this view down the line of command?” he was asked.
Again Esposito said “Of course not.”
In fact, he said he had never heard complaints about stop-and-frisk based on race from people who live in minority communities.
The complaints, he said, come from civil liberties groups or elected officials.
He insisted that nobody has ever come up to him and said they were stopped because of race. He said what they’ll complain about is the way a stop was done – if police were rude or wouldn’t explain why they were stopping the person.
He also said that he doesn’t believe the disparity in the numbers of stop-and-frisks, where the majority are young blacks and Hispanics, is a sign of racial profiling. He said the stops are based on complaints from the public about crime conditions.