NYPD Tapes 4: The WhistleBlower, Adrian Schoolcraft

He wanted his bosses to know about NYPD misconduct. So they put him in a mental ward

Once again, Schoolcraft listed his allegations about what was happening in the precinct. "She was told about the robbery complaints, the training, the overtime, no days off," he says.

Lamstein left the room to speak with a supervisor. When she returned, she said she was ordering Schoolcraft to turn in his gun and his shield because he was having chest pains.

"She says, 'This is normal. We do this all the time because of chest pains,' " he says.

Schoolcraft waits for word about his status with the NYPD.
Graham Rayman
Schoolcraft waits for word about his status with the NYPD.
Schoolcraft's fateful digital recorder.
Schoolcraft's fateful digital recorder.

Details

The Voice presents excerpts from "The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct."



FEBRUARY 20, 2009
"If We Like You, You Get a Certain Thing. If We Don't Like You, You Get a Certain Thing."


In this excerpt, Adrian Schoolcraft meets with Lieutenant Rafael Mascol, who makes a series of unguarded remarks about how the NYPD rates officers.


OCTOBER 31, 2009
"What is this, Russia?"


In this recorded excerpt from Schoolcraft's apartment, deputy chief Michael Marino demands that Schoolcraft, who'd gone home early feeling sick, return to the precinct. Schoolcraft refuses.


OCTOBER 31, 2009
"Son, You Got a Choice. What Is It Gonna Be?"


Deputy chief Marino demands that Schoolcraft go to the hospital. Schoolcraft refuses. He was then thrown to the floor, handcuffed, dragged from his Queens apartment, and taken against his will to a psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital.


NYPD Tapes: The Series
The NYPD Tapes Part 1
Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct
The NYPD Tapes, Part 2
Bed-Stuy street cops ordered: Turn this place into a ghost town
The NYPD Tapes, Part 3
A Detective Comes Forward About Downgraded Sexual Assaults

Follow continuing coverage of the NYPD Tapes here at our Runnin' Scared blog.

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Two officers drove Schoolcraft to the precinct and then to his home to collect two firearms and his shield. He would now be assigned to desk duty in the precinct and ordered to man the telephone switchboard.

In June, Schoolcraft hit on the idea to write "A Patrolman's Report to the Commissioner," about what he had observed in the precinct—he got the idea from Target Blue, a book about corruption in the NYPD in the early 1970s. The document would contain the problems that he observed, transcriptions from his tapes to back them up, and a list of recommendations. He intended to send it to Commissioner Ray Kelly.

On July 27, 2009, Schoolcraft met again with NYPD psychologist Lamstein, who told him that he had "anger issues." He responded that he was disappointed with the department, but wasn't angry.

That summer, Schoolcraft's father contacted retired Detective Lieutenant David Durk, famed for helping Frank Serpico report corruption in the NYPD. He asked Durk for advice on how his son should deal with the disciplinary case and get his concerns aired within the department.

Durk spoke with Schoolcraft on August 18, and told him that he should record everything in order to build his case. "He told me that without audio or video, my statement wouldn't mean crap," Schoolcraft says. Durk also pledged to call a captain at Internal Affairs named Brandon Del Pozo.

Two days later, on August 20, Schoolcraft reported to the Internal Affairs Bureau that two precinct supervisors had entered a locked file room and removed records of civilian complaints from the personnel file of one of the supervisors.

A month later, Lieutenant Caughey posted a memorandum in the precinct that said that all Internal Affairs inquiries should be brought to him first.

Durk, meanwhile, did call Del Pozo. It was only after that that the department reacted. Internal Affairs spoke with Schoolcraft in early September. His allegations were evidently referred to the Quality Assurance Division (QAD), which audits crime statistics. QAD summoned Schoolcraft to the October 7 meeting.

The result: On October 27, a Brooklyn North sergeant told Schoolcraft he was on "forced monitoring."

Then, at the start of a shift on October 31, Schoolcraft's memo book was confiscated again. This time, Caughey took it away for three hours and locked himself in an office with a copy machine. When he finally came out, he returned the memo book and called Schoolcraft's sergeant, Rasheena Huffman, into his office.

"She comes out cold as ice," Schoolcraft says. "A lot of the negative stuff, the stuff on the tapes, is in the memo book. And now they have copies of it."

At around 2:45 p.m., less than an hour until the end of his shift, Schoolcraft was feeling ill, and, at the same time, he felt that Caughey was menacing him, so he decided to go home sick. He filled out a slip and presented it to Huffman, who was on her personal cell phone. He says she approved his early departure.

After Schoolcraft got home, he called Internal Affairs about Caughey's behavior. At around 4:30 p.m., he took a swig of Nyquil, and settled down for a nap. At around 6 p.m., his father called him and told him to look out the window. Police lights were flashing in the street, but he hadn't heard any knocks or buzzes at his door.

He checked his phone. There was a message from Sergeant Huffman, saying she had denied his sick report and that he needed to return to the station immediately.

He kept his father on the phone. After 9 p.m., he heard someone coming up the stairs. His father advised him to pretend he was asleep.

A number of police supervisors entered the apartment with a key they obtained from the landlord. They had told the landlord that Schoolcraft was suicidal.

"Once they came in and saw I wasn't in danger, they should have left," he says. "I was fine, and we could deal with the sick report later. But they start going through my shit. I'm thinking, 'What the fuck is going on?' "

About a dozen NYPD supervisors piled into his small apartment. He was lying on his bed, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. He noticed someone with a video camera.

On the audio recording that Schoolcraft made, Deputy Chief Michael Marino and precinct commander Mauriello accuse him of "just walking out of the precinct" and demand that he return.

Lauterborn says, "Get your stuff on. We're going back to the precinct."

Schoolcraft argues that his early departure was approved. Initially, he agrees to return, but then, after speaking to his father, changes his mind and tells the police he feels ill.

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