Twelve New York City police officers join a class action lawsuit against corruption in the NYPD in Crime + Punishment. Within the NYPD, a number of Black and Latino officers are encouraged by their superiors to perform illegal summons and arrest quotas, with those refusing to do so facing repercussions. A number of these officers, including Sandy Gonzales, Edwin Raymond, and Felicia Whitely decide to put their careers on the line and join a class action lawsuit to try and put an end to this behaviour.
Utilizing hidden cameras and microphones, Stephen Maing’s documentary Crime + Punishment reveals immense corruption within the NYPD, where summons, arrests, and fines account for $900 million of the city of New York’s budget. In addition to the class action lawsuit by the “NYPD 12,” Crime + Punishment also follows private investigator Manuel Gomez, who specializes in helping the people who have been falsely arrested to meet quotas, such as Pedro Hernandez, whose case is followed throughout the film.
Crime + Punishment is a real eye opening documentary about a police forces that seems more concerned making a certain number of arrests a month, than keeping the peace as they are supposed to be doing. The film relies quite heavily secretly recorded audio and video to contradict the public statements from the New York police commissioner saying the arrest quotas don’t happen. Overall, Crime + Punishment leaves you thinking about whether this level of corruption exists in more than just the NYPD.