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by Peter Moskos

September 14, 2018

NYPD prostitution scandal

When ever corruption scandals breaks, I always notice two things:

1) The "blue was of silence" is more fiction than fact. Sure, cops in collusion won't talk, at first. But that's hardly a blue wall. I mean, given people's natural inclination not to snitch on their friends and family, cops snitch on other cops quite regularly. Probably more so than other occupations. Why? A) cops don't like bad cops, B) when push comes to shove, people CYA and say "I'm not going to risk my pension for that dirty cop I never liked anyway."

2) The dollar amount some cops are willing to screw up their lives, their reputations, and their valuable pension. It's chump change. Lazy cops retire. Bad cops retire. But dirty cops rarely retire because being able to rat out a dirty cop is a great get-out-of-jail-free card. And that card is something other crooks find very useful. I mean, just put in 20 to 25 years and they pay you for the rest of life! And you screw it all for $100 here and $200 there?

But here we go, as reported in the Times: "One detective was allowed to pay $20 for an encounter with a prostitute that would normally cost $40." A cop gave his all for $20 off a blow job.

This was a "multi-year NYPD investigation" started by a top from a cop. But a multi-year NYPD investigation means there are a lot of well crossed T's and beautifully dotted I's.

Last I heard, 7 cops and about 20 civilians were arrested.

It's also interesting when internal PD investigation brings down dirty cops. Cops are like, "Great, system finally worked! Stupid dirty cops got what they had coming." Cop-sceptics are like, "Blue Wall of Silence is proof police are irrevocable corrupt!"

Also, for police and sex-workers alike, prostitution should be regulated and legal.


Jay Livingston said...

That $20 caught my attention too. There has to be some other reason, and my guess is that he was already involved with the cops and others who were running this show. Maybe for some of the other cops too, personal connections and obligations and pressures might have mattered more than the money -- especially for the cops who were getting a very small honorarium for their services.

MO said...

Hey Peter,

I’m a long time fan of your blog (been reading it for over 5 years) and follow you closely on your Twitter account. It doesn’t really fit with this post, but I feel the need to point out the tremendous uptick in gun violence in Philadelphia over the past couple weeks. There has been such a dramatic increase, and yet to my dismay (but not surprise), the media has ignored it completely. Thus, I feel the need to tell someone who might care. Philadelphia has some of the best shooting data of any city (https://data.phila.gov/visualizations/shooting-victims), and when I looked at the data for September, I was shocked to learn that 159 people have been shot in Phiadelphia through the first 16 days of the month. To put that in perspective, there has only been one *complete* month going back to Jan 2015 (where the data set begins) in which that many people were shot (Aug 2015 160 victims). The 22nd district alone, which only has about 67,000 people, has already had over 30 people shot for the month! Obviously 2 weeks is too short of a period to make any dramatic conclusions, but to me this is a big deal. Interestingly the dramatic increase in shootings began two days after the indictment of Officer Pownall, but I know better than to make a conclusion that they are related.

Moskos said...

I had no idea. Do me a favor and, if in month, this is still going on, let me know. Honestly, truthfully, just between you and me, Phili ain't on my radar. But I do hope it's not going the way of Baltimore and Chicago.

The only variable I do know about the election of the "progressive"prosecutor. I am curious if things will get better or worse. I hope for the former. But I doubt it. We shall see.

Unknown said...

As far as Philadelphia’s uptick goes, Google “Ryan Powenall.” Not the same sort of nationwide attention, but it’s basically Philly’s Freddie Gray moment.

Unknown said...

My apologies, that should be “Ryan Pownall.” It’s widely believed among Philly’s Finest that DA Krasner will not rest until he has a cop’s scalp on his trophy wall.

Corinne Ambler said...

Hi Peter,
Do you think this is happening because some cops feel underappreciated and this is just, in a sense, a way to act out? Also from what I have read, it seems like that "blue wall of silence" has really come crumbling down in recent years, like you said many cops are happy to rat out their fellow LEO’s, do you think this is because more "good cops" are coming into the field and we are finally getting rid of those bad eggs because its right, or do you think it is because others are trying to get ahead and this is one effective way to do it?