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What happens to Police Whistle Blowers?-Pulled from apartment and put in a Psych Ward
March 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

An Officer Had Backup: Secret Tapes

One night in October 2009, a team of police officers, led by a deputy chief, raided the home of a police officer named Adrian Schoolcraft, and dragged him out of his bed and to the psychiatric emergency room at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. He was held for six days in a locked ward. No judge was involved. There was no hearing.

The decision to take him to the hospital was made solely by armed men who happened to be his superior officers in the Police Department with a vested interest in shutting him up.

For more than a year, Officer Schoolcraft had been collecting information about what appeared to be illegal arrests and manipulation of crime statistics in the 81st Precinct, in Brooklyn. Along the way, he secretly recorded orders from supervisors to lock up people without cause. He also documented cases in which armed robberies were classified as “lost property” cases. A few weeks before he was seized in his home, he met with investigators for the Internal Affairs Bureau and told them about what he had uncovered. He began recording after his bosses accused him of loafing because he was not meeting their goals for arrests and summonses.

To date, neither Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg nor Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly have publicly discussed why Officer Schoolcraft was thrown into a psychiatric ward. On Tuesday, that silence continued: both the city’s Law Department and the Police Department declined to discuss the Schoolcraft situation because he is now suing the city.

A secret police inquiry into Officer Schoolcraft’s charges vindicated his account of crime report manipulation, but its findings only became public thanks to reporting by Graham Rayman, a writer for The Village Voice. Disciplinary charges have been brought or are pending against several officers.

However, the sole public documentation of the forced hospitalization comes from recordings made by Officer Schoolcraft, portions of which were posted online with a Village Voice article. In addition, the public radio show “This American Life” did a report on Officer Schoolcraft’s case that included excerpts.

ACCORDING to a federal lawsuit filed by Officer Schoolcraft, a supervisor spent half of the day on Oct. 31, 2009, copying pages from Officer Schoolcraft’s notebook, which included detailed accounts of what he had viewed as misconduct. Alarmed by this and not feeling well, the suit says, Officer Schoolcraft asked and received permission from a sergeant to leave an hour before the end of his shift.

Around 6:30 p.m., a group of police officers arrived outside Officer Schoolcraft’s apartment in Queens. He did not answer the door, and they entered three hours later, using the landlord’s key.

Among those who showed up were Deputy Chief Michael Marino, a senior police official in Brooklyn, and Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, the commander of the 81st Precinct.

Although police supervisors would later tell the psychiatric staff at the hospital that Officer Schoolcraft had barricaded himself in his home and run from them, the recording does not support that version. Officer Schoolcraft sounds calm — a term used to describe him in the hospital reports, which also stated that he had no “significant psychiatric symptoms.”

“Get your stuff on,” Inspector Mauriello said. “We’re going back to the precinct.”

“I’m not going back to the precinct,” Officer Schoolcraft responded. The inspector said they needed to investigate why he had left early, and Officer Schoolcraft said it was because he was not feeling well. They sparred verbally for a minute. Chief Marino interrupted.

“Listen to me, I’m a chief in the New York City Police Department, and you’re a police officer,” the chief said. “So this is what’s going to happen, my friend. You’ve disobeyed an order. And the way you’re acting is not right.”

“Chief, if you were woken up in your house ——” Officer Schoolcraft began.

“Stop right there, son,” the chief said.

“—— how would you behave?” Officer Schoolcraft continued.

“Son, I’m doing the talking right now, not you,” the chief said.

“In my apartment,” Officer Schoolcraft said.

“In your apartment,” Chief Marino said. “You are going ——”

“Is this Russia?” Officer Schoolcraft said.

Told he was going to be suspended, the officer said that they should write him up. A paramedic found that Officer Schoolcraft’s blood pressure was very high, but he said he was refusing medical assistance. The inspector and the chief said he was acting irrationally, and the chief ordered him handcuffed. As he was brought to the floor, a small recorder was discovered in his clothing.

“Recording devices, and everything else,” Chief Marino said. “So he’s playing a game here. Cute.”

In fact, another recorder, on a bookshelf, was still running. “It didn’t have to be like this,” Chief Marino is heard saying.

At that moment, the lawsuit charges, the chief had his boot on Officer Schoolcraft’s face.

Replies

  • brookiecookie87
    March 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    "For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the "stats" that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports.

    Arresting bystanders made it look like the department was efficient, while artificially reducing the amount of serious crime made the commander look good.

    In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting—which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft's superiors—his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days." village voice

    -For those who wondered how the precinct manipulated crime data.

  • brookiecookie87
    March 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    So unreal. You would almost think it is straight from a tv show or movie.

    The Police Chief found and destroyed a recording device while they had him at the Pysch Ward. Which would make his story seem completely made up. If he didn't have a second recorder on him that still caught it all.

  • randi1978
    March 23, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Wow.  Maybe I have seen a few too many movies, but none of this surprises me really.  I think there are far too many city and state agencies that have gone corrupt in order to obtain funding and other perks.  Thank goodness the man had the sense to set up a second recording device.  They can't bullshit their way out of this now, can they?

  • survivorinohio
    March 23, 2013 at 12:43 PM


    Quoting brookiecookie87:

    So unreal. You would almost think it is straight from a tv show or movie.

    The Police Chief found and destroyed a recording device while they had him at the Pysch Ward. Which would make his story seem completely made up. If he didn't have a second recorder on him that still caught it all.

    He was smart, I hope he wins his case and it makes a difference.


  • FromAtoZ
    March 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    He will be painted as the bad guy here.

    I sincerely hope this man wins this case and that some one, any one, many people, truly open their eyes.

  • brookiecookie87
    March 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM



    Quoting randi1978:

    Wow.  Maybe I have seen a few too many movies, but none of this surprises me really.  I think there are far too many city and state agencies that have gone corrupt in order to obtain funding and other perks.  Thank goodness the man had the sense to set up a second recording device.  They can't bullshit their way out of this now, can they?

    Yeah. This man was pretty clever about it. He didn't just up right start accusing them. He recorded them and gathered evidence over a long period of time.

    And had the sense to have multiple recording devices as well.

    I cannot fathom why they would take him to a Psych Ward from his apartment unless it was just an intimidation tactic. If it was it doesn't seem to have worked and makes them only look worse


  • brookiecookie87
    March 23, 2013 at 1:01 PM



    Quoting FromAtoZ:

    He will be painted as the bad guy here.

    I sincerely hope this man wins this case and that some one, any one, many people, truly open their eyes.

    Without a doubt I am sure they will try. Perhaps that is why they dragged him to the Pysch Ward. In hopes that they would diagnos him with something. Though describing him as calm doesn't really hurt his image.

    Which would have still played in their favor if he didn't record them. And have a back up recording device.


  • brookiecookie87
    March 23, 2013 at 1:08 PM



    Quoting survivorinohio:

    He was smart, I hope he wins his case and it makes a difference.

    I think they fumbled the ball to much to not lose the case. But then "stranger" things have happened.

    I hope he wins as well. I am not sure what I would want to see changed more. The system that encourages them to arrest people almost at random and discourages them from looking into actual cases or the way they target whistleblowers and do anything/everything to intimidate them and stop/discredit them.


  • trippyhippy
    March 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM
    He's lucky to be alive.
  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    March 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Shit like this pisses me off. I would love to see that more people have read this and are also outraged.

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