Last Halloween, Greenpoint resident Berry Hatfield was nearing his apartment building when a young man approached him and drew a silver handgun, obviously intending to rob him. Hatfield took off, got to safety and then called police.
“I heard him pull the trigger as I ran away, although no shot was fired,” Hatfield says.
Hatfield, 27, a location scout for the movies, reported the crime, and was driven around the area by two 94th Precinct patrol officers in an unsuccessful search for the would-be robber. Later, Hatfield returned with the officers to the precinct and filed a formal complaint. He was told that detectives would call him the next day
Now, here’s where Hatfield’s story takes a curious turn — one that dovetails with the revelations in the Voice‘s “NYPD Tapes” exclusive which was published today.
Hatfield says that the detectives never called the following day. A few days later, Hatfield says he called the precinct to get a complaint number for the case. A clerk, however, was unable to find any record of the report.
A month after that, Hatfield went to the precinct in person to obtain his incident number and a copy of the report. Once again, no one could find any record of the incident, not in the computer, not in the log book. Nowhere. He left a message for the patrol officer who took his report to call him. No returned call.
Two months after that, Hatfield tried again. Same result. No one could find a record of his complaint. But this time, the officer did return his call. Hatfield says the officer told him that even he couldn’t find any record of the report. Hatfield says the officer made an offhand reference to a recent spate of articles about manipulation of the crime stats, suggesting maybe someone had made the report disappear.
“A couple of weeks before, there was an item in the local paper that two girls got robbed nearby,” Hatfield says. “It was also a silver handgun. It was also a young black man. I was just surprised at the lack of interest in getting someone who was using a gun. It makes you wonder whether this type of thing is systemic throughout the NYPD.”
All Hatfield has to prove that someone pointed a gun at him and tried to rob him is one little incident information slip.