In the course of its investigation of whistleblower cop Adrian Schoolcraft, the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau not only ran his father’s name through criminal databases, but his sister’s name as well.
This revelatory tidbit emerged in federal court Tuesday during a hearing on Schoolcraft’s lawsuit before U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet. It raises the question of whether it was proper for the NYPD to run the names of people through criminal databases when those people are merely potential witnesses and not under criminal investigation.
In 2010, the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau was conducting an investigation of Schoolcraft. It was not a criminal investigation. It was merely an administrative investigation into why Schoolcraft went home early on Oct. 31, 2009. When Schoolcraft refused to report to work, after police dragged him out of his home and forced him into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward, Internal Affairs investigated him for that, too. In all, the bureau filed two dozens administrative charges against Schoolcraft.
In the course of that investigation, Internal Affairs ran Schoolcraft’s name in 2010 through the state criminal records database and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center’s database, records show. Internal Affairs also ran Schoolcraft’s father Larry’s name through the databases too. Larry was clearly not under either an administrative or criminal investigation when his name was run.
Internal Affairs also ran the name of Schoolcraft’s sister, who lives in Texas and has had no contact with Adrian or Larry on this story. Not only was the sister not suspected of criminal conduct, she was not even remotely involved in any of the events surrounding the case. She had not idea what was going on. And yet, Internal Affairs thought it was okay to run her name through the system. None of the three Schoolcrafts had any priors.
John McCarthy, the chief spokesman of the NYPD, did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the city Law Department, said her office would rest on what was said in court, and declined to elaborate.
Two veteran law enforcement sources told us that Internal Affairs conduct seemed unethical. “If they suspect criminality for each individual, that’s ok,” one of the sources said. “But they can’t just run the sister because she’s a family member.”
The second law enforcement source said this: “It seems like they were just looking for any dirt on Schoolcraft they could find to discredit him.”
Meanwhile, the city is claiming that the Schoolcrafts failed to turn over documents later cited in a book published last month by this reporter.
“It has been brought to the undersigned’s attention that in Village Voice reporter Graham Rayman’s recently published book, ‘The NYPD Tapes,’ Mr. Rayman references myriad documents which city defendants believe are responsive to outstanding discovery requests in this matter and have not been produced by plaintiff,” city lawyer Suzanna Publicker Mettham writes in a Sept. 17 letter.
Mettham says that the Schoolcrafts failed to turn over Schoolcraft’s 10-page account of his days in the Jamaica Hospital psych ward, emails to this reporter and NYPD Confidential columnist Leonard Levitt, and the totality of recordings made by Schoolcraft.
“Mr. Rayman quotes plaintiff as stating that plaintiff made and was in possession of ‘about 1,000 hours of recordings,’ Mettham writes. “City defendants note that they have not receive anywhere near 1,000 hours of recordings from plaintiff.”
Mettham’s letter did not come up in the court hearing. Another hearing is scheduled for next week.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 27, 2013