Mauriello went on: "With these numbers, Marino will go through the roof. His head will come through the top of Wilson Avenue. He's going to call me and ask me what the fuck was I doing six months ago that I didn't put you on paper."

Schoolcraft then angered Mauriello by insisting on appealing and noting that he was going to get a lawyer.

Mauriello said, "When you came in here through the door, you should have said I have a lawyer and I'm gonna do what I gotta do, instead of wasting 45 minutes of us trying to talk to you and show you the results, and this is the way you are going to go out. So you know what? I tried."

Schoolcraft left the meeting feeling he had been ambushed, an attempt to intimidate him to drop his appeal and shut up.

Later, Sergeant Stukes documented the meeting. His frustration with Schoolcraft was almost pungent. "PO Schoolcraft was counseled in regards to his low activity and the annual evaluation. He was instructed in the proper performance of his duties in the 81st Precinct and was given the opportunity to find a way to enhance his activity on a steady basis, at which time PO Schoolcraft refused any help!"

Later that night, their words still ringing in his ears, Schoolcraft helped a guy who needed an ambulance, served family court papers, responded to a call of a blocked driveway, and several other matters. He got home around 1 a.m.

On February 27, he wrote his own appeal of the evaluation, noting that the Patrol Guide "makes no reference to activity levels," and that his evaluation was based on bias and used other factors besides performance. He also accused Mauriello and Sergeant Stukes of falsifying documentation. He went on to ask for records, including a calculation of the "actual number of hours that Schoolcraft is available for enforcement duty." This was a shot at the fact that cops were constantly being pulled away from enforcement for pedestrian duties.

It was rare for an NYPD officer to do this kind of thing: talk back to the bosses and accuse them of falsifying documents. So the screws continued to turn.

On March 1, in a monthly activity report, Stukes wrote that Schoolcraft's work was "unacceptable by NYPD standards." Mauriello chimed in: "Unacceptable."

A week later, Schoolcraft's lawyer, James Brown, sent a formal appeal, charging that the evaluation was based on Schoolcraft's "activity," or numbers, and pointed out he had been given no set target for activity. Of course, it would be illegal for his bosses to set performance numbers, but they were doing everything else short of it.

On the evening of March 13, 2009, Schoolcraft was assigned to a foot post on Reid and Bainbridge. While he was talking with another officer, Sergeant Weiss approached him and accused him of being off post.

When Schoolcraft disagreed, Weiss said, "You're being a wise ass right now. You're off post because you're inside a building talking to PO Chan."

Almost tongue in cheek, Schoolcraft wrote in his memo book, "Sgt. Weiss wouldn't elaborate on the boundaries of my post when asked. Sgt. Weiss responds with a smirk."

Weiss then said, "'You're getting a CD for being off post and Chan for unnecessary conversation,' and then ordered me back on my post."

Later in the evening, Weiss took Schoolcraft's memo book, read the entries, and lost his temper.

From Schoolcraft's notes: "After reading said copy, Sgt. Weiss lost control, yelling while berating and belittling me in front of the 81 desk surrounded by multiple police officers because I disputed his charges that I was off post."

Of course, it was completely out of bounds for a police officer to write critically of a boss in his memo book, which is an official document. And one might think that Schoolcraft was just amusing himself. Far from it. He took his responsibility to document events on his tour seriously. But it didn't help him with his bosses.

The taking of the memo book meant that from March 13 on, the command was aware that Schoolcraft was documenting events that didn't make his bosses look good.

On March 16, it happened again. This time Lieutenant Timothy Caughey and Sergeant Weiss found Schoolcraft off post after he went to a bathroom. Schoolcraft felt he was being harassed, so he went on his police radio and demanded that the duty captain respond to his location.

A radio call of this sort was usually only used for a major incident. "The radio went crazy," Schoolcraft recalled. "In my activity log, I was documenting the retaliation, and they were punishing guys [other officers] I talked to. They were building a paper trail."

FromThe NYPD Tapes by Graham A. Rayman. Copyright © 2013 by the author and reprinted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

grayman@villagevoice.com

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2 comments
phree
phree

Perfectly predictable from military authoritarians.

royalphoenix
royalphoenix

And new yorkers wonder why they have lost 30% of their seats in the us house since 1970.

 
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