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Mauriello himself and at least two of his lieutenants were doing their own callbacks.
Mauriello's involvement in callbacks is confirmed in an October 4, 2009, roll call, during which Lieutenant K. tells the officers, "Whether it's CO, Lieutenant L., or [Sergeant] M., they always do callbacks. So a lot of time, we get early information and they do callbacks."
"And then we look silly," Sergeant D. adds. "A woman says, 'Hey, my boyfriend stole my phone.' He didn't really steal the phone. It's his phone, and he was taking it. Did he snatch it out of her hand? Yeah. Is it a grand larceny? No, because I'm telling you right now the D.A. is not going to entertain that."
The Voice presents excerpts from "The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct," from precinct roll calls between June 1, 2008 and Oct. 31, 2009.
JANUARY 28, 2009
"How Many Superstars and How Many Losers Do You Have"
In this excerpt, the 81st Precinct commander, a lieutenant and a sergeant talk about the constant pressure from bosses, and push cops to "get their numbers."
Modica and other retired detectives say they're stunned that a precinct commander and his aides would be calling crime victims directly and asking about their complaints. "I don't think he should be doing it," Modica says. "It's the detectives' job. If the captain comes up and says, 'It's not a robbery,' I say, 'That's OK, but we have a case, and it's up to us to investigate it now.' It makes you wonder whether they are doing it to cut down on statistics."
It's also unclear why a patrol sergeant would worry about what a prosecutor would do with a complaint, unless he was looking for a reason to reject it before it reached the prosecutor's desk.
"Whether a district attorney decides to take a case or not is not something for a precinct supervisor to worry about," says John Eterno, a retired NYPD captain who is now a professor of criminal justice at Molloy College. "He is making a judgment call based on what he thinks the D.A. will do. But the person made a complaint. That complaint needs to be taken."
THE NYPD HAS A UNIT THAT audits precinct crime stats, known as the Quality Assurance Division (QAD). The unit operates something like Internal Affairs, but is actually attached to the management and planning office.
On October 7, Schoolcraft was ordered downtown by QAD for a nearly-three-hour formal, on-the-record interview with an inspector, a lieutenant, and three sergeants.
Schoolcraft was advised that he could have an attorney represent him in the meeting, but he chose not to. It's also important to note that if he had lied during the interview, he could have been brought up on department or criminal charges. Plus, he was laying his career on the line by discussing misconduct he claimed to witness. He also supplied documentation of his claims. And the interview took place prior to his controversial suspension, and months before he spoke to the media. In short, he had little to gain and a lot to lose by speaking with the investigators.
Once again, Schoolcraft had brought along his audio recorder, and recorded the meeting without the knowledge of the others in the room. During the meeting, the QAD officers make some interesting off-handed observations about the extent of crime statistic manipulation in the precincts.
After a long description of how he does investigations, one of the supervisors says, "You know, I've been doing this over eight years. I've seen a lot. The lengths people will go to try not to take a report, or not take a report for a seven major [crime]. So nothing surprises me anymore."
The supervisor notes such instances can be criminal [falsification of business records], but district attorneys typically "don't want to touch" cases of officers manipulating statistics. "They'll give it back to the department to handle it internally," he says.
He goes on to note that, yes, precincts do downgrade reports: "We look at grand larceny because, as you know, they don't want to take the robbery," he says. "They punch a lady in the face, and they took her pocketbook, but they don't want to take that robbery, so they'll make that a grand larceny."
Schoolcraft tells the QAD officers that sergeants and lieutenants were berated for taking major crime reports. "Just about all of them, if they work patrol," he says. "When they come out, they say, 'It is what it is. It was a robbery—what could I do about it?' "
During the meeting, Schoolcraft provides documentation on an incident from December 5, 2008, that was initially taken as an attempted robbery—a teen reported that he was attacked by a gang of thugs who beat him and tried to take his portable video game—and later downgraded by a sergeant to an misdemeanor assault.
In the meeting, the QAD officers check their computer files and find that, indeed, the incident was classified as a misdemeanor assault.
Schoolcraft also provides documents from a June 29, 2009, auto theft report, in which the victim came in to obtain the report number, but no report existed. A sergeant told Schoolcraft to do a new report.
Schoolcraft tells the QAD officers that Mauriello came to the desk and told him, "I'm not taking this. Have the guy come in. I've gotta talk to him."
A couple of days later, the man arrived and was ushered into Mauriello's office. Mauriello interrogated the victim and his cousin. "There was yelling," Schoolcraft says. "They were in there for about 40 minutes. The cousin stormed out of the office yelling and screaming."