It turns out, amazingly, that this isn't the first Schoolcraft vs. P.D. lawsuit. No, it's not the first. It's not even the second.
Turns out that Adrian's father, Larry Schoolcraft, was also a police officer. In Fort Worth, Texas, I believe (though the Village Voice says Dallas). It seems that, like Adrian, after seven or eight years, Larry didn't leave the police department on good terms, either.
Schoolcraft v. City of Fort Worth was filed in 1999. Whatever it was about, it must have been for pretty big bucks because the city first budgeted $145,000 and then another $65,000 (1,2,3) for its legal defense. In 2000, Schoolcraft's petition for review was denied by the Texas Supreme Court. I guess Larry lost.
The Schoolcrafts have suffered a lot of loss.
Larry Schoolcraft moved to upstate New York. Adrian Schoolcraft joined the NYPD in 2002 and hit the streets in 2003. A few months later his grandfather, Larry's father, died. Soon after that Larry's wife, Suzanne, died, either in 2003 from cancer or in 2004 from a stroke.
A few years pass.
Then in 2007, police got a call for a drunk man at a convenience store. Officers respond and decided the man, Larry Schoolcraft, can't drive. Being a small town, they drove him home. Two or three days later, power company employees saw Larry passed out on his porch. It was cold. They called 911. Subsequently Schoolcraft sued the police. The local paper, the Leader-Herald, reported:
The lawsuit filed April 15 claims Schoolcraft suffered permanent injuries because he was left outside in the cold.Out for two or three days in freezing weather? That's some medication.
Schoolcraft’s attorney, James. W. Bendall, said his client had to be hospitalized and required surgery. Some of Schoolcraft’s muscles were permanently damaged because of exposure, the suit claims.
Schoolcraft, who is in his 50s, was groggy because of some medication he had taken, his attorney said.
The lawsuit claims deputies simply brought Schoolcraft to his porch [and left him there]. ... Deputies claim they brought Schoolcraft into his home.
Schoolcraft... had no memory of what occurred... [and] found out what had happened when his son, a New York City police officer, came upstate after receiving a call that his father was in the hospital.
No matter, after the 2007 incident, Larry went to live with his son Adrian in New York City. In February, 2008, Adrian's maternal grandfather died. Two days later Adrian's paternal grandmother dies, too.
A very rough month. It might even be enough to push me over the edge.
Two months after the death of his mother, Larry Schoolcraft filed his lawsuit against the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Six days after the Leader-Herald wrote about the lawsuit, the paper ran another story, this one about how Larry's home had been broken into eight months earlier, back around September, 2007, after Larry went to live with Adrian in NYC. Among the stolen goods, Larry Schoolcraft says, were the ashes of his wife and the couple's infant son, who he says died shortly after being born in 1988.
If it weren't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. But at least they had each other for support. Through thick and thin, through all their misfortune, father and son, living together, probably spent a lot time talking, mourning, recovering, and perhaps the subject of police departments came up and just how unfair life can sometimes be.
On June 1, 2008, just six weeks after Larry files his last lawsuit against the police, Adrian starts secretly recording conversations that will become the basis for his first lawsuit against the police.
Maybe it's all just coincidence. Who am I to say? But I'd love to know what Larry's lawsuit in Fort Worth was about. I mean, wouldn't it be something if Adrian's lawsuit against his police department in New York just happened to be similar to his father's lawsuit against his police department in Fort Worth a decade earlier? Wouldn't that really be something?