NYPD Officer Michael Birch was no stranger to regular performance evaluations. Birch has repeatedly been told that he does not generate enough activity during his transit bureau duty. However, when his commanding officer pulled him into yet another a performance review in 2012, he decided to use his cellphone to record the audio of what he believed he was being pressured to do: racially profile.
Birch always felt that he did a good job of monitoring and subduing crime on the NYC subways. Yet, he had a suspicion that his supervisors wanted him to make more arrests of Black males.
Although the NYPD has maintained a firm position that there are no quotas for summonses, arrests, or stop-and-frisk reports, in 2011 Birch had personally been placed on special monitoring for “low activity.”
This made Birch question the motives of his commanding officer, Constantin Tsachas. During the special monitoring period, Tsachas criticized Birch for only making four arrests during a nine-month time period.
These critiques by Tsachas inspired Birch to record the next performance evaluation meeting he was called into.
During the conversation, the commanding officer can be heard questioning Birch about the low arrests he made against Black males. The commanding officer said during the recording, “You just described to me who’s committing the crimes. You’re fully aware of it. But you’re not targeting those people.”
Birch took that to mean that his commanding officer wanted him to target and arrest more male minorities. This highly offended Birch, who is Puerto Rican.
In January, Birch filed a federal lawsuit against the city and several individual NYPD officials that complained of something he called an illegal quota system. However, his suit was dismissed and thrown out by a judge. Last month, Birch filed an appeal with a higher court.
You can listen to a segment of the recording below. Do you think his supervisors were asking him to racially profile? Let us know in the comment section.
(Photo: Brezina/Getty Images)