About . . . . . . Classes . . . . . . Books . . . . . . Vita . . . . . . . Links. . . . . . Blog

by Peter Moskos

October 16, 2015

"Adrian Schoolcraft is no Frank Serpico"

Lenny Levitt on Adrian Schoolcraft:
Larry [his father], who appeared to be calling the shots, hired and fired half a dozen lawyers.
...
Over the years, their behavior became increasingly bizarre. For months at a time they would disappear. They continually changed their phone numbers. At one point, one of the lawyers asked Frank Serpico, who lived nearby and had befriended them, to track them down.
...
Serpico also struggled in dealing with Larry, who, it turned out, had been a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas and had sued that police department on grounds similar to Adrian’s in New York. His claims were dismissed in 2000 by a Texas Appeals court, records show.

Serpico is no longer in contact with him or Adrian.

So what to conclude? One thing we can say with certainty is that Adrian Schoolcraft is no Frank Serpico.
Levitt also critiques Ray Kelly's book. I'm probably never going to read it, so I'll take Levitt's word:
In the end what tarnished Kelly’s legacy was his own ego, his running the NYPD for 12 years as Management by Narcissism. He refused to listen to others, and took no responsibility for his misjudgments. His stated conviction of protecting the city was belied by his bitterness and vindictiveness. Like others before him, his tragedy was he had started to believe his own news clippings.

9 comments:

David Woycechowsky said...

My favorite part was this:

"In its inimitable way, the NYPD overreacted, breaking into his apartment that evening and forcibly taking him to Jamaica Hospital. Schoolcraft secretly recorded the break-in, during which, in chilling detail, tough-guy chief Mike Marino can be heard saying, “Adrian, you get up like a man, put your shoes on and walk into that [ambulance] or they’re going to treat you as an E.D.P. [emotionally disturbed person].

Which is exactly what they did."

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

The important part is:

"The NYPD subsequently confirmed that commanders in the 81st precinct did alter crime statistics, and transferred or brought departmental charges against five supervisors."

Schoolcraft put himself at a lot of personal risk to expose the truth: That the brass in his precinct are liars and criminals. Without him, the 81st Precinct would continue their lawbreaking ways (as I'm sure others do). Everything else is a footnote.

Peter Moskos said...

Schoolcraft didn't really put himself at any risk. Nor did he expose anything that wasn't already known. I'm not even certain he deserves credit for the investigations in the 81. That investigation could have been incidental to him (or maybe not, I don't know). But regardless, many other ranking officers in other precincts have been investigated and punished and transferred for similar misdeeds. It's what the department does. And it had nothing to do with Schoolcraft. The departmental brass wants accurate crime numbers. Seriously. (It's just that they don't or at least didn't understand that it was the pressure from these same brass that caused lower ranking officer to juke the stats.)

I wrote about it in 2010, three months before we had ever heard of Schoolcraft. But nobody noticed or cared.

This is perhaps the only op-eds I ever wrote that I couldn't get published in a major newspaper. But it was out there. I put it on my blog.

http://www.copinthehood.com/2010/02/juking-stats.html

Look, inasmuch as Schoolcraft helped bring this to the public's attention, I'll give him (but more the Village Voice) credit for that. But that there was a numbers' problem was widely known, both inside and outside the department. So it's hard for me to get too worked up over an "expose" that revealed nothing new. It's hard for me to get too worked up over two-generations of bad cops who repeated sued police departments to get money.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

There were ex-cops "raising questions" in a survey. Schoolcraft was the one who actually wore a wire and got a recording. We know there's criminals selling drugs, but the guy who gets them on tape gets credit. That's why he got coverage, and you didn't– because he got the evidence. As for risk: He was forcibly hospitalized and intimidated, which is more physical risk than you or I ever took on.
Police departments, like other organizations that get by with a pile of daily crimes, should be sued as often as possible. It's the only way to keep them in line. Anyone who can win a suit against a big, well-insulated criminal conspiracy like the 81st is okay in my book, and I don't begrudge him making a buck off it.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

There were ex-cops "raising questions" in a survey. Schoolcraft was the one who actually wore a wire and got a recording. We know there's criminals selling drugs, but the guy who gets them on tape gets credit. That's why he got coverage, and you didn't– because he got the evidence. As for risk: He was forcibly hospitalized and intimidated, which is more physical risk than you or I ever took on.
Police departments, like other organizations that get by with a pile of daily crimes, should be sued as often as possible. It's the only way to keep them in line. Anyone who can win a suit against a big, well-insulated criminal conspiracy like the 81st is okay in my book, and I don't begrudge him making a buck off it.

Peter Moskos said...

Can you point to any part of the recordings -- collected and selectively released by Schoolcraft, keep in mind -- that actually is damning to the NYPD? (Except for the involuntary commitment part. Though I do *not* find that objectionable, but I understand how those who don't understand the crime of medical abandonment might.)

Also maybe he did need to be *kept* at Bellevue. That part had nothing to do with police. Cops can bring you there. Only a doctor can keep you there. Of course those doctors are getting sued, too.

Part of what ironic to me is that the Voice made claims that *were* true, but not necessarily based on what Schoolcraft recorded. I actually listened to the tapes. Have you? Where was the damning evidence?

http://www.copinthehood.com/2010/05/nypd-tapes.html
http://www.copinthehood.com/2010/06/schoolcraft-tapes.html

David Woycechowsky said...

but I understand how those who don't understand the crime of medical abandonment might

Wow, just wow. These Schoolcrafts really send you off the deep end.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Anyone who listened to the TAL episode heard the commander explicitly telling officers how many tickets they were supposed to bring in daily, which is incredibly illegal. The subsequent IA investigation was explicitly an investigation into whether Schoolcraft's allegations were true... and they were.
Yes, lots of people, yourself included, talked about the problem of stat-juking. The difference is that Schoolcraft did something about it. Which is perhaps why cops hate him so much; his actions demonstrate just how indifferent police are to crimes committed by cops against the people.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Again, though, I don't care all that much about your (or anyone's) opinion on Schoolcraft's character; none of us know it. All I care about is what Schoolcraft's tapes proved: quotas and stat-faking in the NYPD. That is a crime of vastly more significance than whether Schoolcraft's father is a nice guy.