A lawsuit against the New York City Police Department has been filed by four black and Hispanic officers for actions taken between 2011 and 2015. Several officers came forward about their experiences within the department and with their commander, Constantin Tsachas. According to the filing, the officers were directed to not go after white and Asian Americans, which the commander called “soft targets,” and instead to target blacks and Hispanics.
The NYPD refused to officially comment on the charges, although the police union stated that the commander has denied the allegations. The controversy began with a large crackdown on fare dodgers within the city’s subway system earlier this year. The NYPD issued 22,000 more tickets for fare evasion than they did in 2018, according to police data in early November. This sparked protests against racial discrimination in the city and transit police.
Police data collected between October 2017 and June 2019 revealed that black and Hispanic people accounted for nearly three quarters of those receiving tickets for fare evasion, despite making up only half of the city’s population. Additionally, they comprised over 90 percent of those arrested for fare evasion.
The lawsuit alleges the commander actively discouraged policing subway stations in predominantly white or Asian neighborhoods. The former officers claim they faced retaliation for objecting to the quota system for arrests and tickets, which they maintain unduly affects black and Hispanic commuters.