Crime + Punishment is a shocking film directed by Stephen Maing, that follows a group of police officers who are simply tired of having to arrest people purely to meet quotas.
Whenever we see corruption and malpractice, we are bound to also witness whistleblowers naturally emerge given enough time. However, we rarely ever get to see into the lives of these brave individuals and see firsthand how they struggle with being a part of the very system they feel needs to change. That’s where film-maker Stephen Maing steps in. His film is about 12 NYPD police officers who decide to fight back against the covert and not to mention, illegal quota system that is being forced upon them to fulfill. Their actions led to a class-action lawsuit against the department over its practice of pressuring minority officers to issue predetermined numbers of arrests and summonses per month.
Crime + Punishment follows two primary stories in parallel: the class-action lawsuit and a separate court case that involves Jessica Perez’s son, Pedro Hernandez, who has been imprisoned in Rikers Island for over a year for a crime he did not commit. Both stories feature Manuel Gomez, an ex-NYPD officer turned private investigator. Gomez is completely devoted to his quest for justice and reform, and his knowledge of the police force and the court system helps us understand what’s going on throughout the movie.
From watching these characters in action we quickly learn that the NYPD has become a model for many other police departments across the United States. The NYPD is the largest police organization in America, so the precedents it sets are seen by other municipalities as expertise that should be followed. This alone should be reason enough to appreciate the effort Crime + Punishment is making in order to shine a light on the corruption that is not only in New York but throughout America.
Directed by: Stephen T. Maing