The Reality of the Criminal Justice System

The movie I chose to watch for this media blog is Crime + Punishment.Crime + Punishment is a Hulu original documentary by Stephen Ming. The documentary revolves around the New York Police Department, which is the largest police organization in America. There are a dozen former cops who speak about how their quotas are outlawed and are pushing for a number of arrests. New York City had banned quotas on arrests and summonses, but a group of 12 minority police officers filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Police Department saying that there are still illegal and continued uses of quotas. The documentary shows numerous citizens that speak about their experiences with the NYPD and how its corrupt. It also shows numerous recordings from cops and lawyers. It shows

Stop and frisk is one key point that was presented in this film. In the documentary, it showed a man named Pedro Hernandez that was charged with a shooting and held on Rikers Island. Hernandez did not commit the crime and hired a private investigator to be on his case. This goes into the NYPD program as a “broken windows” policy that would allow police officers to stop and frisk the people that fit the description of a crime. This is how Hernandez appeared a suspect of the crime. Most people that were under investigation of the crime were considered black or Latino.

This stop and frisk allegation that happened to Hernandez had come up with the issue of how the system is relying on a specific number of arrests and summonses every month. This relates to our readings in class. We learned, “In 2013, a federal district court ruled the NYPD Stop and Frisk policy unconstitutional as it violated ‘the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law and also the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures,’” (Walker, 2018, p. 177).

Another key point presented in the documentary was how cops are pressured to arrest and summon minorities in New York City. The film shows how police officers target low income communities, they constantly are trying to harass citizens for low-level charges that are usually dismissed for lack of probable cause, and make money for their police department for fines and fees. I think this can be related to racial profiling. In Policing the Black Man,it is discussed, “On the narrowest end of the spectrum, racial profiling is understood to include only the conduct of police officers who consciously view black men as suspicious for no reason other than race,” (Hutchins’, 2018, p. 96). This statement made me realize how the police officers are forced to go in low income communities-where a lot of African Americans and Latinos reside, to try to make reasonable cause and suspicion on these citizens; which would be racial profiling. The documentary also made mention to Ferguson Report and the killing of Eric Garner, as we read in Policing the Black Man.

As we have discussed in class discussions about what we need to do to end racial profiling, stop and frisk, and other racial crimes relating to police officers, this documentary shows how the officers and communities are fighting for what they believe is right; even if it means they have to risk their careers. After watching the film, it made me realize that we as a society need to be taking more precautions as well to stop what is happening in the criminal justice system and take actions ourselves. I think the higher up authorities need to be focusing more on this and ending it.

This documentary brought people’s attention to the reality of what is happening in the NYPD. I think it was important to show this to the world because since NYPD is the biggest in America, that means that other police departments are following in their footsteps. It shows how we as a society need to be taking action, as well. Since twelve of the police officers that were taking action with filing a law suit were all minorities, I think that gave a better insight on how they would like to take actions themselves. They didn’t go into the field to arrest people purposely and get their number of arrests up like a game, they want to protect citizens and the communities.

I would recommend this film because it gave me more insight on what is happening in our criminal justice system. It also gave me better understanding to our class readings and discussions. It gives a more realistic take on the circumstances that are happening that we don’t necessarily see. It helps you visually put together what we have discussed in class and what we have read. It makes you want to make an ideal of equal justice under the law close to a reality.
















Hutchins’, R. (2018). Racial Profiling: The Law, the Policy, and the Practice. In A. J. Davis,

Policing the Black Man: Arrest Prosecution, and Imprisonment(p. 96). Vintage Books.

Walker, S., Spohn, C. DeLone, M. (2018). The Color of Justice; Race, Ethnicity, and Crime

in America. Cengage Learning.

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