A recording that seems to suggest New York Police Department (NYPD) officers are ordered to racially profile black men in the city has been leaked online. The recording includes instructions issued by a senior supervisor to a transit officer that suggest to specially target black men during daily patrolling.
A secretly recorded conversation between an NYPD cop and his supervisor strongly indicates racial profiling is not just a huge part of the policing in the Big Apple, but is actively enforced. Moreover, those cops who do not abide by the unwritten law are unofficially penalized with a verbal reprimand and a poor evaluation.
The audio, released by Gawker, was part of a news story that was first published by the New York Daily News in January. Back then, the news outlet had attempted to expose the secret tactics regularly employed by senior officers in the NYPD to get their subordinates to intercept black and Hispanic men in higher numbers. The story was about an officer who sued the department alleging he was punished by his supervisors for not stopping “enough” black and Hispanic teens in the subways.
Apparently, not logging the required quota of males belonging to these particular ethnicities was an unspoken violation, and officers found guilty of treating everyone the same was reason enough for a poor performance rating, which in turn severely restricted the growth potential in the department.
The officer, identified as 44-year-old Michael Birch, had secretly recorded a sit-down with his commanding officer and a lieutenant after he had received a poor evaluation in 2011 when he was stationed to monitor the subway system. He was tasked with catching those who attempted to evade paying the fares, usually by leaping across the turnstiles.
While Birch insists he caught all those who committed the crime in his presence, his superiors implied he should actively watch out for blacks and Hispanic males. According to the officer, his commanding officer suggested he stay hidden to proactively catch law-breakers. In other words, the officer was accused of not being proactive on his job. Birch insists his lawful behavior that fit the description of the job won him several reprimands. However, apart from the verbal dressing-downs, Birch alleges he was deprived of overtime, given undesirable assignments, and had his work monitored as a result of not meeting the performance measures
In the recording, his supervising captain can be heard criticizing him for only stopping two black men out of 54 people, reported Raw Story.
“Two male blacks. So you’re telling me you only saw two male blacks jump the turnstile?”
Back when the story was first reported, the audio recording was referenced, but it was never released or published. While the original recording is 36 minutes long, a roughly two-minute excerpt was recently uploaded on SoundCloud. In the recording, the captain appears to be concerned why the police officer being interviewed wasn’t targeting black men. The supervisor even manages to force an admission out of the officer that mostly male blacks and Hispanics between 15 and 19 years of age commit most of the crime in the city.
According to U.S. Uncut, Birch is speaking with then-captain Constantin Tsachas in the recording, who was recently promoted to deputy inspector. The incident and the federal lawsuit occurred during the administration of former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Incidentally, many officers had come forth with similar pressure tactics employed by their superiors to fulfill such illegal quotas for arrests, summonses, and stop-and-frisks, reported New York Daily News.
Birch’s lawyer, Eric Sanders, categorically pointed out that once his client was transferred to the 79th Precinct in Bed-Stuy, “miraculously, he has had no performance problems,” implying that the officer was deliberately penalized for actions that he didn’t commit and which were considered illegal.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]