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By Michael Musto
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By Capt. James Van Thach told to Jonathan Wei
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If true, that claim would add ammunition to Schoolcraft's allegation that the precinct commanders retaliated against him after they found out that he had gone to IAB.
Mauriello, this officer has told Norinsberg, described Schoolcraft as "that rat upstate."
In addition, this officer alleges that as recently as last April, precinct supervisors were issuing actual quota numbers, and threatening to fire officers who didn't meet those quotas. This officer also alleges that the practice of downgrading complaints was a common occurrence.
The second officer, who labors in a Bronx precinct, claims that the downgrading of crime reports is a consistent practice that he called "shitcanning," Norinsberg says. Like Schoolcraft, this officer found reports that were questionable and followed up with victims. He claims that his precinct commander would file legitimate crime reports as "unfounded" so they wouldn't appear on the all-important precinct crime statistics.
For Adrian Schoolcraft, life remains in a sort of limbo. He is living with his father in a small apartment in upstate New York, and has no income. He has been suspended without pay, and is facing departmental charges for going AWOL and, ironically, "impeding an investigation."
He has filed a $50 million lawsuit that accuses the NYPD of violating his civil rights when he was dragged to the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days after he blew the whistle.
In an odd touch, an NYPD official recently approached a Voice reporter to forward a settlement offer to Schoolcraft. After the message was delivered, the police official spoke directly to Schoolcraft and his lawyer. The offer was this: If Schoolcraft agreed to return to work and be served with departmental charges, he would "probably" keep his job and would also become a witness in the case against Mauriello, his former precinct commander, and Deputy Chief Marino. Schoolcraft declined the offer.
The Schoolcraft tapes have become evidence in two other lawsuits against the city: one regarding the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights; the other, a class-action lawsuit involving two dozen plaintiffs, which alleges that quotas are what's driving arrests and summonses.
Joshua Fitch, a lawyer in that case, says the tapes are the "smoking gun": "You take the tapes and juxtapose them to the statistics, and then you take the stories from the individual plaintiffs, and you have a very clear picture of what's going on," he says.
Incredibly, when Schoolcraft filed for unemployment benefits, the NYPD fought him on it.
"The NYPD is making life very difficult for him," Norinsberg says. "There's a level of spite here that is extraordinary," adding: "His hospitalization was a shocking violation of somebody's civil rights."
Meanwhile, Schoolcraft gained a valuable supporter in famed NYPD whistleblower Frank Serpico, who called him and spoke with him for two hours. Serpico declined a Voice interview request, saying only, "I just wanted to let him know, having been there, that I understand how he feels."
Curiously, despite the damning evidence contained in the tapes and in the Voice series—not to mention the disturbing treatment of Schoolcraft—the city's elected officials have been largely silent.
"You would certainly hope to see more aggressive action on the part of elected officials," Norinsberg says.
Mayor Bloomberg has said nothing, and his spokespeople, Stu Loeser and Jason Post, have not responded to any Voice e-mails on the series. The series was met with silence by Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman.
Councilman Peter Vallone, the chair of the public safety committee, stuck his toe in the water, but opted not to dunk it in all the way. He has the power to hold public hearings on police issues, but he has held none. None of his fellow Council members on the committee even returned repeated Voice phone calls.
Vallone, however, now tells the Voice that his probe of these issues continues, and he is seriously considering holding a hearing on the subject: "As I have continued to investigate, the more concerned I have become," he says. "I've heard of everything from reclassification of complaints to actual discouraging of victims. I've spoken to victims from throughout Queens and the entire city. If the mayor is going to use the crime statistics to justify fewer officers, then the numbers better be accurate."
As for the oversight agencies, they, too, have been alarmingly mute. The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) has uttered not a peep, even after Chris Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, called on the board to investigate allegations in the series.
When the Voice asked the CCRB whether it would investigate elements contained in the tapes, CCRB spokesman Graham Daw offered a tortured written statement essentially saying that the board's role is confined to investigating specific complaints: "The jurisdiction of the CCRB extends only to particular encounters between police officers and members of the public, and, in most cases, not to more general questions of policing policies or practices," he wrote.
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