NYPD Transit Cops Come Forward About Blatantly Racist Policing Instructions

By Brian Oaster

The second highest ranking officer of Brooklyn’s transit police division is under fire for racist policing tactics. Officers say Deputy Inspector Constantin Tsachas has been blatantly directing his subordinates to target Black and Hispanic citizens, while going soft on white or Asian fare dodgers for the same minor offenses, like jumping the turnstile. His subordinates are speaking out about it, comparing him to former KKK leader David Duke.

“He’s David Duke in uniform,” said Lieutenant Edwin Raymond. “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 involved in an ongoing lawsuit against the city and the police department because of the way Tsachas has pressured them to target Blacks and Hispanics, and retaliated against those who objected.

Officers were told that whites and Asians were to be considered “soft” targets. “You’re stopping too many Russian and Chinese,” officer Aaron Diaz recalls Tsachas instructing him. Meanwhile, officers of color say Tsachas and other high ranking officers considered racial minorities “animals,” according to recently filed allegations.

‘I got tired of hunting Black and Hispanic People’

While the lawsuit began in 2016, new affidavits reveal accusations of transparently racist behavior. Pierre Maximilien was a Brooklyn transit cop from 2002 to 2015. He says his former boss “emphasized that we needed to stop male blacks. Those were the ones that Tsachas wanted to go to jail.” Maximilien eventually petitioned NYPD higher-ups, and Tsachas punished him by assigning him to 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,” says a statement by Maximilien. “Further some officers would target immigrants due to the language barrier to manufacture an arrest.”

Former NYPD officer Christopher LaForce agrees. “Tsachas would get angry if you tried to patrol subway stations in predominantly white or Asian neighborhoods,” says his statement. Tsachas would direct them to patrol Black and Latinx neighborhoods more heavily instead. LaForce eventually did what any officer should do when they awaken to the reality that they’re perpetuating systemic racism. He quit the police force entirely. “I got tired of hunting black and Hispanic people because of arrest quotas,” he said.

Who is Deputy Inspector Constantin Tsachas?

In 2000, Tsachas was an NYPD Sergeant. By 2010, he had been promoted to Captain. Between 2011 and 2015, the period concerning the current lawsuits, he was commander of over 100 officers patrolling the subways in Crown Heights and downtown Brooklyn. Then in 2016, allegations came out about his “blatantly racist views” and practices. Instead of taking action against Tsachas, the NYPD promoted him to Deputy Inspector. He then answered to Joseph Fox, Brooklyn’s Chief of Transit, who is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. Fox retired this year to work in insurance. He was replaced by Edward Delatorre, the new Chief of Transit, to whom Tsachas now answers. Community leaders recently called out Delatorre after a video of his officers arresting churro vendors went viral and sparked outrage. The racism in the system sure seems to go beyond just one bad apple, even if Tsachas is a particularly overtly bad apple himself.

The NYPD’s racist policing isn’t just confined to the 2011-2015 period that is the focus of the lawsuit, either. According to a New York Times report:

Between October 2017 and June 2019, black and Hispanic people, who account for slightly more than half the population in New York City, made up nearly 73 percent of those who got a ticket for fare evasion and whose race was recorded. They also made up more than 90 percent of those who were arrested, rather than given a ticket.

In 2018, Tsachas made $167,047 of taxpayer money for doing this racist work, serving the public from his Kings County office at the following address and phone number:

Transit Division District 34
1243 Surf Ave
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 714-8400

That’s off the DFQ lines to Coney Island station, and they’re open 24 hours to receive you, their public. You can also tell your state legislators what you think of the way the NYPD is conducting itself. There are 63 members of the New York State Senate, and they all have public contact information. It’s their job to listen to you.

Brian Oaster

Brian is a Choctaw writer in the Pacific Northwest.