A New York Police Department commander told officers responsible for watching the subway system in Brooklyn to target black and Hispanic individuals for minor offenses and avoid stopping “soft targets” like whites and Asians, according to sworn statements from several officers. The New York Times reports that six officers said in sworn statements that Constantin Tsachas—who was promoted to the second-in-command post of of policing the Brooklyn subway system—encouraged them to go after black and Hispanics for crimes like jumping turnstiles between 2011 and 2015. “You should write more black and Hispanic people,” Tsachas allegedly told Aaron Diaz in 2012. “You are stopping too many Russian and Chinese,” Daniel Perez recalled Tsachas telling him. Former officer Christopher LaForce said Tsachas would get “angry” if officers even patrolled stations in neighborhoods with a large white or Asian population, and would redirect them to stations in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Inspector Tsachas has not spoken publicly about the matter, but his union representative told the Times Tsachas denied the misconduct allegations. The department also has not commented publicly.
The statements were reportedly taken as part of a discrimination lawsuit, in which the officers allege the department retaliated against them after opposing a quota system for tickets and arrests. This comes after incidents of police targeting individuals in the New York subway have recently gone viral and prompted protests.