Shooting the Messenger

The Adrian Schoolcraft case--in which senior-level cops imprisoned a fellow officer for whistle-blowing--has now been confirmed by the NYPD, itself. The Village Voice reports on the NYPD's own finding regarding Schoolcraft's charges:


The Voice has obtained that 95-page report, and it shows that the NYPD confirmed Schoolcraft's allegations. In other words, at the same time that police officials were attacking Schoolcraft's credibility, refusing to pay him, and serving him with administrative charges, the NYPD was sitting on a document that thoroughly vindicated his claims. 

Investigators went beyond Schoolcraft's specific claims and found many other instances in the 81st Precinct where crime reports were missing, had been misclassified, altered, rejected, or not even entered into the computer system that tracks crime reports. 

These weren't minor incidents. The victims included a Chinese-food delivery man robbed and beaten bloody, a man robbed at gunpoint, a cab driver robbed at gunpoint, a woman assaulted and beaten black and blue, a woman beaten by her spouse, and a woman burgled by men who forced their way into her apartment. 

"When viewed in their totality, a disturbing pattern is prevalent and gives credence to the allegation that crimes are being improperly reported in order to avoid index-crime classifications," investigators concluded. "This trend is indicative of a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct."

The repercussions have been serious, if bureaucratic:

In all, five precinct officers, two sergeants, and Mauriello were either disciplined or charged with department infractions. Most of the command structure in the 81st was transferred. Kelly appointed one of the city's few female African American commanders to replace Mauriello. 

Deputy Chief Michael Marino, the man who ordered Schoolcraft to be committed, was also transferred. Probers referred two of Schoolcraft's allegations to Internal Affairs: one involving the arrests of people on minor infractions held unnecessarily in the command and released, and the other, three arrests of people who tried to turn guns in to the station house. 

 Schoolcraft remains under a kind of indefinite suspension without pay and lives upstate with his father. His federal lawsuit is moving along in a preliminary phase.

That the officers who did wrong are still employed, while the one reported the wrong is without a salary says a lot about the NYPD. 

To get the entire sense of Adrian Schoolcraft's saga, check out this stunning episode of This American Life.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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