‘We didn’t ask permission’: behind an explosive NYPD documentary

Jake Nevins in The Guardian:

In any era of systemic corruption and malpractice, whistleblowers naturally emerge. But rarely do we get to see the human face behind their mettle, let alone the toll it takes on the psyche to be a cog in the machine of a system they know to be unjust. That’s what film-maker Stephen Maing achieves with Crime + Punishment, his new documentary about the 12 cops, all people of color, who fought back against the New York police department’s covert and illegal quota system, which led to a class action against the department over its practice of pressuring minority officers to issue predetermined numbers of arrests and summonses per month – oftentimes in communities of color deemed “high-crime”.

The documentary opens in the tradition of investigative cinema, with a clandestine phone conversation between Maing and Sandy Gonzalez, a 12-year veteran and the first of the dozen officer mutineers. “They’re retaliating against me because of my numbers,” says Gonzalez, who would eventually be demoted after resisting his supervisor’s demands. We’re then thrown in the middle of the police academy graduation, where New York, New York plays and then police commissioner Bill Bratton waxes poetic about the city having “reclaimed its streets”.

More here.