From the blog

SELECTIVE POLICING: NYPD Traffic Cop Sues Over ‘Get Out Of Jail’ Card

A New York police traffic officer is under fire for suing the department over unofficial ‘get-out-of-jail’ free cards issued to friends and family of some officers to get them off traffic offence lightly.

Mathew Bianchi filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan over reprisals he suffered at the hands of his superiors for not complying with the corrupt and unsanctioned practice. According to Bianchi’s lawsuit, it doesn’t take much for a non-officer to earn a courtesy card, and they can even be found for sale on eBay. 

In November 2018, a year into his career in the traffic unit, Bianchi issued a ticket to a civilian who held a New York City police department laminated courtesy card, an unofficial credential issued to NYPD officers based on their union affiliation that can then be distributed to family members and friends to carry with them.

Bianchi claims his superiors retaliated against him for his stance against the “corrupt” cards after he was warned by an official with the Police Benevolent Association, New York City’s largest police union, that he would not be protected by his union if he wrote tickets for people with cards. And if he continued, he’d be reassigned.

Bianchi’s service as a traffic cop ended last summer when he wrote a ticket to a friend of the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the lawsuit states. The woman never mentioned to Bianchi that she knew Maddrey, and the stop was “unremarkable”, according to the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the Police Benevolent Association said it did “not set policies regarding the way that police officers perform their duties. The law and NYPD policies afford police officers discretion in taking enforcement action.

“Each police officer determines how to exercise that discretion based on the specifics of each case. Likewise, the PBA does not determine where or how the NYPD deploys its personnel. That is the sole prerogative of NYPD management,” the PBA said.

A spokesperson for the NYPD said the department would review the lawsuit if and when they are served.