Data Shows Violence Of Plainclothes Police Officers

NYPD officer
Zain Murdock
June 30, 2021

You might think you’re walking down a safe, police-free street – but that’s not always the case. Plainclothes officers, donning “regular” clothes instead of their blue uniforms, often linger. But they do more than that. 

They’re a small fraction of most police departments – but are involved in over a THIRD of fatal shootings!

The largest police force in the country, the NYPD has relied on plainclothes units for decades. They’re used to stop crimes in progress, or even before they happen, which distinguishes them from regular officers. 

And Black people like Breonna Taylor, Sean Bell, and Eric Garner have suffered the brunt of that project.

According to police misconduct records, plainclothes officers frequently “abused their authority,” typically via racial profiling and stop-and-frisks. Even Lieutenant Edwin Raymond admitted officers compete to boost their arrest quotas, hoping for a promotion!

And community members seem to agree.

“Blue suit cops” aren’t nearly as violent as “undercover” plainclothes, a Crown Heights nurse told The Intercept. “The undercovers think they have the authority to do anything they want. They hunt ... [B]lack people down.”

Plainclothes police manipulate the public into thinking they’re not there – when they’re actually some of the most violent. And, when being Black is the crime, there’s no way to “act innocent.” That's what this system is about: manipulation and anti-Black criminalization, not safety.

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