High Ranking NYPD Officer Is ‘David Duke In Uniform,’ Officer Alleges
A high-ranking leader of the NYPD‘s embattled subway policing division has previously directed officers to target black and Latino men for farebeating and other low-level arrests, while ignoring the same offenses committed by whites and Asians, according to sworn statements from his own subordinates.
The disturbing allegations stem from new affidavits filed in an ongoing lawsuit against Deputy Inspector Constantin Tsachas, currently the second-in-command of Brooklyn‘s transit policing bureau. Prior to his promotion three years ago, Tsachas had direct supervision over the officers patrolling the subways in South Brooklyn neighborhoods.
As a commanding officer, Tsachas allegedly told cops to “write more black and Hispanic people” and avoid “soft targets” such as white and Asian people, according court records obtained by Gothamist, and reported on by multiple outlets.
Eight current and former NYPD officers have submitted statements in recent months testifying to Tsachas’s reliance on a racist and illegal quota system. Officers of color say Tsachas and other NYPD higher-ups viewed minorities like “animals,” and those who objected faced swift retaliation, according to the affidavits.
“He’s David Duke in uniform,” Lieutenant Edwin Raymond, a patrol supervisor in Brooklyn and plaintiff in the suit, told Gothamist on Monday. “I don’t throw that around lightly. Others know how to mask or euphemize this stuff, but when you asked him to explain a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ target, he’s completely blatant.”
Raymond is one of several officers—formerly known as the NYPD 12—who first came forward in 2016 to sue the city and the police department over Tsachas’s conduct. Secretly recorded audio has previously shown him berating an officer for “not targeting those people,” seemingly in reference to blacks and Latino men.
New affidavits filed in federal court last week underscore those claims, while shining new light on how department higher-ups allegedly ignored repeated warnings about Tsachas. Pierre Maximilien, a retired transit cop who worked in Brooklyn from 2002 to 2015, alleges that his former boss “emphasized that we needed to stop male blacks. Those were the ones that Tsachas wanted to go to jail.”
After “enduring years of abuse” from Tsachas for not meeting the illegal quotas, Maximilien began writing letters to NYPD brass, union reps, and the Department of Investigation, according to the affidavit. He did not receive a response, he says, and was instead tasked by Tsachas with handling prisoner transports.
“Through my punish transport assignments I noticed that police officers often targeted Black and Hispanic homeless civilians as a result of the arrest quota,” his statement reads. “Further some officers would target immigrants due to the language barrier to manufacture an arrest.”
A spokesperson for the Law Department, Nicholas Paolucci, said in an email that Maximilien’s allegations were investigated by the NYPD internal affairs in 2014 but not substantiated. “We’ll continue to defend against these baseless accusations,” said Paolucci.
But other officers say such investigations are designed to clear bad cops of wrongdoing. “They have a methodology that ensures claims are unsubstantiated,” Raymond told Gothamist. “They say they’re investigating, then nothing happens.”
These growing accusations against Tsachas come amid heavy scrutiny into a crackdown on fare evasion and homelessness inside the subway system. At Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s request, hundreds of new NYPD and MTA officers have been deployed throughout the transit system in recent months, sparking protests from New Yorkers who say the enforcement push is targeted at poor, minority riders. An additional 500 MTA officers will be hired to patrol the subways starting next year—at an estimated taxpayer cost of roughly $50 million annually.
As Raymond sees it, the purpose of the new police officers isn’t to deter fare evaders, but to round up black and Latino men on low level crimes and search them for warrants.
“The machine is so well oiled,” he said. “It’s the same formula that gets applied over and over…There’s no reason it’ll be any different with 500 additional law enforcement in the transit system.”
Emails to the NYPD and efforts to reach Tsachas were not successful.