Frank Serpico is a retired NYPD officer famous for testifying against police corruption in 1971. For years Serpico had tried to go through his superiors in order to improve police tactics and put an end to the improper and illegal activity he saw. Just months before giving his public testimony Serpico was shot in the face during a stakeout at 778 Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg. The other officers at the scene never called in a “10-13”
that would have let dispatchers know an officer had been shot, getting him the medical attention he needed. While Serpico’s colleagues reportedly stood by and did nothing, an elderly Hispanic man in a neighboring building called emergency services and stayed with Frank until help arrived. It is a widely accepted fact that this was done in retaliation for Officer Serpico’s earlier anti-corruption efforts.
Fast forward to 2010.
While I work on some new fiction for the site I thought I would bring your attention to a relevant piece of news that the mainstream media has covered half-heartedly at best. The Village Voice has done a great job exposing the apparent fudging of crime statistics by the Bloomberg Administration. The ongoing series called NYPD Tapes centers around the secret digital recordings of 8 year NYPD veteran Adrian Schoolcraft. The published transcripts document the existence of arrest and ticket quotas, something previously denied by the city.
Based on the recordings, the strategy used by Commander Steve Mauriello of the 81st precinct in Bedford Stuyvesant included the downgrading of felony charges to misdemeanors in order to present the appearance of lower rates for major crimes such as sexual assault and burglary. According to Schoolcraft, a former Navy medic, this policy also including the unlawful arrest of citizens. In one case a woman was taken into custody just feet from her own property and charged with not carrying identification. Mr. Schoolcraft claims that he was retaliated against for his attempts to bring these problems to the attention of superiors. He was arrested at his home after leaving work ill and was placed in a mental hospital for close to a week until he was able to prove his sanity. The facts available at this time seem to back up Officer Schoolcraft’s story.
Here’s a link to the latest in the Village Voice series: