The documentary Crime + Punishment is a shocking and eye-opening film, directed by Stephen Maing. It follows a group of brave police officers who are fed up with being forced to make arrests and issue summonses just to meet quotas. The film gives us an intimate look into the lives of these whistleblowers, as they push against the system that they feel needs to change. In the process, it reveals a larger problem that plagues law enforcement throughout the United States: an illegal quota system.
At the center of this struggle are Manuel Gomez, an ex-NYPD officer turned private investigator, and his clients Jessica Perez’s son Pedro Hernandez, who has been wrongly imprisoned in Rikers Island for over a year. Through their stories we come to understand how long-standing NYPD practice coerces minority officers to fulfill predetermined numbers of arrests and summonses per month. This pressure is not only felt in New York but has become something many other police departments have adopted as “expertise”.
Crime + Punishment is more than just a story about police corruption; it is also about our justice system and its limitations when it comes to protecting innocent people like Pedro Hernandez from wrongful conviction. With thoughtful editing and heart-wrenching testimonies from those affected by the quotas, this documentary shows us what true bravery looks like when one stands up against injustice. For this reason alone, everyone should watch Crime + Punishment—a film that sheds light on an alarming issue in our society today.