The NYPD has been under fire for a long time for its racist practice of “stop and frisk” which targeted mostly young male people of color. It resulted in a substantial amount of criminal charges for minor infractions. Not only was it an unconstitutional act, which was racially biased, but people were getting busted for trivial stuff like a tiny bag of weed in their pocket, which hurts nobody ever. To put it simply, it was functioning as a street-to-prison pipeline for a major amount of young people of color, giving them a record and hindering them for life.
It caused huge amounts of strife between the civilians and the police of the city. The NYPD defended the use of stop and frisk strongly, denying that they engaged in racial profiling. It turns out, they were lying the whole time and now we have the proof.
Below is a transcript of a conversation between Michael Birch and his commanding officer. Birch secretly recorded the conversation, because he wanted to prove what the police were doing to the people of New York City. Birch is currently suing the department, claiming he has been retaliated against for being a whistle-blower on an illegal quota system. The original lawsuit failed, but he has filed an appeal.
Commanding Officer: Who commits the crimes in the city?
Birch: Who commits the crimes? Well, it’s mostly teenagers, anywhere between the ages of 15 and 19, mostly male blacks and Hispanics.
OK. Who are you stopping?
Everybody. I stop everybody.
Fifty-four TABs up to 8/20. Twenty-five of those are female. Half.
Like I said, I stop everybody. I’m not targeting anybody.
You just told me who the bad guys are.
Yeah, I know that. But there’s also other people who are committing violations as well. I’m not saying that there’s not violations being made.
The male blacks, that you told me commit the crimes—
Plenty of people that I write summonses to are male blacks and male Hispanics.
You stopped two male blacks.
Not for the whole year. You’re telling me for the whole year I only stopped two male blacks on summonses?
8/20. From January 1st to August 20th. Fifty-four TABs: two male blacks, seven Hispanics, seven other, ten white, three Asian. So where are you targeting the perps that you just told me?
Like I said, if I don’t see a perp jumping over the turnstile, what am I supposed to do to him?
These people are not going to pop.
How do I know that? A female Hispanic that I stopped in Sheepshead Bay did pop, actually, for a warrant, and I arrested her. Female Hispanic. The Hispanics that we’re supposed to be going after. That are committing the crimes. The people that I—
Did you think that she was going to pop?
Did I think she was going to pop? I didn’t put no thought into it. If you come up for a collar, I’m taking you in.
Here’s what I see. You just described to me who’s committing the crimes. You’re fully aware of it. But you’re not targeting those people.
I am. I’m targeting everybody.
Two male blacks.
Whoever is out there. If I—
So you only saw two male blacks jump the turnstile?
If you’re saying that’s what’s in front of you, then yes, that’s all I saw, is two male blacks for the whole year jumping the turnstile. If you’re saying that’s what’s in front of you, I’m not disputing that. If that’s what I got there.
That is what you have. That is not disputed here.
I’m saying, we’re also talking Hispanics as well. I stopped a lot of Hispanics, too.
Seven male Hispanics. But more than half are female.
And like I said, everybody’s committing violations in front of me.
Popping is when one of the people that the cops harass have an open warrant and it “pops up” resulting in an arrest. A TAB is police slang for a court summons coming from transit violations.
Below is the audio recording captured by the brave police officer:
As any person capable of even modest logic can tell, the NYPD was forcing its own officers to racially profile people, on top of engaging in an unconstitutional practice. It’s doubly offensive and the NYPD has yet to actually be held accountable for it, regardless of whether or not they still engage in it the same as they have in the past.
Featured image via Alan