The NYPD and former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly have been accused of destroying evidence of issuing summons to meet an illegal quota system, according to a new federal class action lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court Monday.
There were no records of communication found from Kelly or former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito about summons over the past eight years, the plaintiff’s attorney Elinor Sutton wrote in a letter to Federal Judge Robert Sweet.
The NYPD has issued 850,000 summonses to meet quotas, the Daily News reported.
Sutton further wrote that neither Kelly nor his subordinates sent communication that used the words “summonses,” “summons” or “summary.”
“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 terms such as ‘summ,’” said Sutton.
In the lawsuit Sutton pointed to emails and text messages to show the use of illegal quotas in the NYPD. She allegedly received these documents through anonymous whistleblowers.
An email from Captain Andrew Benjamin in the Bronx Task Force division noted his disappointment in lack of arrests.
Benjamin wrote that it was “ridiculous” to have only one arrest with over 50 hours of time clocked amongst the top overtime earners in the Bronx.
A text message included in the lawsuit from a Sergeant Carty said that it was “unacceptable” for a cop to miss the “seat belt number by 30 last week.”
The NYPD declined to comment.
“The (evidence) production confirms what plaintiffs feared but defendants have repeatedly denied: Defendants have destroyed evidence that is unquestionably relevant to this matter,” said Sutton. She alleged that the NYPD has a policy of shredding documents potentially related to a case.
Sutton went on to state that city lawyers did not tell the NYPD to preserve summonses communications until 2013.
City attorney Qiana Smith-Williams replied to the claims by telling Judge Sweet that the lawsuit was “short on meritorious claims” and “a prime example of wasteful litigation.”
The New York City of Law Department could not be reached for additional comment.
The class action lawsuit covers all those who have been issued a criminal court summons since May 2007 that was deemed not to have probable cause and then tossed out by the judge. This is not an uncommon practice.
Between 2003 and 2013, 41 percent of summonses were dismissed, according to a study done by John Jay College-College of Criminal Justice. Another 24 percent of summonses were found legally insufficient, meaning the issuing cop didn’t have probable cause.
The case is expected to go to trial early next year.