Lawsuit Reveals NYPD Transit Cop Was Punished for Allegedly Missing Quota on Arresting, Racially Profiling Black People

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NYPD Officer Michael Birch says his superiors gave him a poor performance review because he wasn't targeting black and Hispanic teens. (Bryan Pace/New York Daily News)
NYPD Officer Michael Birch says his superiors gave him a poor performance review because he wasn’t targeting black and Hispanic teens. (Bryan Pace/New York Daily News)

The Chicago Police Department is currently being hit by multiple corruption scandals, but the New York Police Department is running close behind it on the corruption scale. A federal lawsuit filed by New York transit cop Michael Birch confirms that the NYPD deliberately targets Blacks and Latinos. The New York Daily News said Birch’s lawsuit alleges he was punished for not stopping enough Black and Latino teens.

Birch secretly recorded a meeting with supervisors after they gave him a negative performance review. His commanding officer and lieutenant were concerned that he was stopping too many women and whites.

The recording captures Capt. Constantin Tsachas berating Birch for not profiling Black and Latino teens, people who he thinks commit the most crime.

“You describe to me who’s committing the crimes, you’re fully aware of it and you’re not targeting those people,” Tsachas said on the tape. “Almost half the people you see jumping turnstiles are females. If you were going to write a report on who’s jumping the turnstiles, you’d say half are females.”

According to The New York Daily News, Birch, a 16-year veteran of the police department, responded by saying he arrested people based on the crimes he witnessed.

“If these people [black and Hispanic teens] are not jumping over turnstiles, what am I going to do?” he argued.

Tsachas told Birch that he was not arresting the “right people.”

After Birch refused to comply with his supervisors’ orders, he complained that he was given poor assignments, had his work monitored and was deprived of overtime. He eventually requested transfer to the 79th Precinct in Bed-Stuy and has reported no job performance problems.

Birch is not the only NYPD officer to complain about being forced to racially profile citizens and meet quotas. According to The New York Post, a dozen Black and Latino cops have sued the city claiming they were forced to carry out illegal quotas against minority communities. The suit also alleges that cops who worked in minority neighborhoods had higher quotas than cops who worked in predominantly white communities.

However, one of the 12 officers has filed his own private lawsuit. The Post reported that Adhyl Polanco filed a lawsuit claiming that he faced retaliation from fellow cops and senior officers after complaining about “racially discriminatory and illegal mandatory enforcement activity.”

Polanco alleges that after he complained about the unfair and illegal quota system, his locker was plastered with photos of Police Benevolent Association Union Leader Patrick Lynch, he was called a f**king bitch by a fellow officer and he was given poor assignments. He was also placed on mental watch through 2015. Eventually Polanco feared for his safety and requested a transfer from his precinct.

This is not the first time Polanco has complained about fairness in the NYPD. He also testified against the city in a federal stop-and-frisk case. The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk law targeted Black and Latino residents who were carrying contraband (drugs and guns.) However, studies found that whites carried more contraband that Blacks. The Public Advocate analyzed NYPD statistics in 2012 and found one out 49 stops of white New Yorkers discovered a gun, while one in 93 stops of a Black person yielded a gun. In 2013, federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy to be unconstitutional.

However in spite of all these allegations, the NYPD still insists that it does not use quotas.

“There are no numerical enforcement quotas established by the NYPD,” said Steven Davis, a police department spokesman.

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