Back in January of this year, an NYPD officer filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging retaliation for speaking out against the department’s “illegal quota” system, for which he was told to target black men. Though his lawsuit was dismissed, the officer in question, Michael Birch, filed with a higher court, and has now come out with a tape recording of a performance evaluation, on which his superior officers grilled him about not stopping enough black people while in the line of duty.
You can listen to the first two minutes of the recording at Gawker, who describes the clandestine audio and its contents as such:
Birch provided Gawker with what he claims is a recording he secretly made of that meeting, on which a man who seems to be his commanding officer can be heard repeatedly questioning him about his recent summonses, placing particular emphasis on the fact that he has only stopped two black men out of 54 total people. “Two male blacks,” the man says at one point. “So you’re telling me you only saw two male blacks jump the turnstile?”
Gawker has also provided a transcript of Birch’s former commanding officer in the NYPD’s transit bureau questioning him about this during the summer of 2012. In the recording, Birch says that most of the people he sees committing crimes at his post are black male and Hispanic teenagers. When his commanding officer asks him why he hasn’t arrested or written more summonses for people who fall into those demographics, he says he only stops the people he sees committing crimes. The commanding officer then explicitly criticizes him for not “targeting those people,” or in other words, more black men than the two he stopped so far that year.
Birch told Gawker that he interpreted that evaluation as an encouragement of racial profiling. He has since been transferred out of the transit bureau while his commanding officer was promoted from captain to deputy inspector. Birch’s lawyer also represents the “NYPD 12,” a group of officers of color who have filed a class action lawsuit against New York for what they claim is the city’s police department repeatedly targeting racial minorities with quotas. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton denies the use of such quotas and has reduced the use of policies that target minorities like stop-and-frisk. Birch counters that such reform only happens when people like him speak out.