The depth of the NYC police department’s lack of diversity

Four New York City police officers are in hot water today for a fight and arrest that went viral, complete with video of the whole thing. But there’s a bigger problem behind the scenes:…

The depth of the NYC police department's lack of diversity

Four New York City police officers are in hot water today for a fight and arrest that went viral, complete with video of the whole thing.

But there’s a bigger problem behind the scenes: the lack of diversity on the force.

By the numbers

According to police data, there were only 18 black officers, 31 Hispanic officers and another 28 white officers serving on the force of about 6,400 officers. The data also showed that the number of black officers is drastically lower than their percentage of the city’s population — 4.4% — and the number of Hispanic officers is 2.2% less than their proportion of the city’s population.

Turning to the numbers

And it’s not just the department. The city is about 80% white. And there’s not a lot of actual diversity in the various blue-lined circles.

Only 37% of people in the city identify as white, with African Americans the largest racial group at 27%.

Only 7% identify as Hispanic, with roughly 1% identifying as Asian.

Not even 7% of city employees are from minority groups.

It’s easier to spot groups within the city when looking within its police department.

According to the city’s official diversity report, of the city’s Department of Corrections, 48% are Hispanic or Latino, 17% are African-American, 1% are Asian, 8% are American Indian or Alaska Native, 7% are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and the rest are of other races or ethnicities.

Yet, there’s a bigger story to be told

None of this is to take anything away from the bravery of the officers who had a potentially dire situation. It’s called professionalism. And a shining star in the post-show show was Lt. Felix Abdurahman.

In his Instagram post, Abdurahman wrote that the biggest lesson of the incident was “to not take away from the good with the bad.”

“It is my job as a leader to stay away from hype, attention, but avoid it and have my men be extra responsible for keeping up their own professional standards,” he said.

The praise Abdurahman got for holding down the fort last night spread far and wide.

“In the face of real adversity @dinakampadaris came with the best of intentions and full cardiac support, yet the rough response of the NYPD dropped the ball due to ineptitude and mess, and didn’t keep up with his manager/leadership structure when it mattered most.”

“My publicizing of this video, however, is not only to call attention to the appearance of incompetence in command, but to bring proper representation in our ranks and encourage others to come forward and speak up,” he wrote.

“No matter the funding, no matter the rank, no matter the circumstances in your city, you can always be counted on to fight for the cause. Although we fall short we ALWAYS come back strong.”

– Arthur Aidala

CNN’s Samuel Burke contributed to this report.

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