Well, so far, two days after the Voice disclosed the results of a secret NYPD investigation which vindicated Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft’s allegations about the downgrading of crimes, the NYPD has been officially silent, but for one brief comment from its spokesman. The mayor’s office hasn’t said a word either. A followup article from the New York Post is here.
Thus far, the extent of what the NYPD has said is contained in a single paragraph in a New York Daily News article from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the department spokesman. There’s a serious ‘through the looking glass’ element to his remarks:
Browne told the News “it is not unusual for internal reports to stay private. He also said the report, prepared by the Quality Assurance Division, shows Schoolcraft’s accusations were taken seriously.”
The first sentence implies that the NYPD — a publicly funded government agency — can withhold whatever it wants from the press and the public. However, this wasn’t the nuclear launch codes, it was a report about the day-to-day operations of a typical police precinct.
It’s certainly damning, but no issue of national security. And yet, the NYPD kept the report secret for nearly two years.
The New York State Freedom of Information Law reads: “A free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government.
“It is incumbent upon the state and its localities to extend public accountability wherever and whenever feasible.
“The people’s right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.”
Meanwhile, Browne’s second sentence is true but misleading.
Investigators certainly did a thorough job of confirming Schoolcraft claims and even going well beyond those allegations and finding other examples of crime stat manipulation.
But even after the top echelons of the NYPD knew the results of the report, police officials continued to attack Schoolcraft’s credibility, suspended him and served him with administrative charges, refused to pay him for 27 months, and even blocked his unemployment benefits. He was also placed under surveillance.
Browne has yet to respond to Voice questions about this raging contradiction of facts emanating from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s 14th Floor offices.
When then Police Officer Eric Turetzsky broke the Blue Wall of Silence and exposed details of the 1997 sodomy assault on Abner Louima by police officers in Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct, the NYPD rewarded him by promoting him to sergeant. He was lauded for his courage by the mayor, the police commissioner and prosecutors.
Compare the treatment of Turetsky to how Kelly has treated Schoolcraft.