See no evil

For decades, the Village Voice was famous for its investigative pieces into NYC corruption. Looks like they can add another one to that list:

For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the “stats” that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports.

Arresting bystanders made it look like the department was efficient, while artificially reducing the amount of serious crime made the commander look good.

In October 2009, Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting—which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft’s superiors—his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days.

In the wake of our series, NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered an investigation into Schoolcraft’s claims. By June 2010, that investigation produced a report that the department has tried to keep secret for nearly two years.

The Voice has obtained that 95-page report, and it shows that the NYPD confirmed Schoolcraft’s allegations. In other words, at the same time that police officials were attacking Schoolcraft’s credibility, refusing to pay him, and serving him with administrative charges, the NYPD was sitting on a document that thoroughly vindicated his claims.

Investigators went beyond Schoolcraft’s specific claims and found many other instances in the 81st Precinct where crime reports were missing, had been misclassified, altered, rejected, or not even entered into the computer system that tracks crime reports.

These weren’t minor incidents. The victims included a Chinese-food delivery man robbed and beaten bloody, a man robbed at gunpoint, a cab driver robbed at gunpoint, a woman assaulted and beaten black and blue, a woman beaten by her spouse, and a woman burgled by men who forced their way into her apartment.

“When viewed in their totality, a disturbing pattern is prevalent and gives credence to the allegation that crimes are being improperly reported in order to avoid index-crime classifications,” investigators concluded. “This trend is indicative of a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct.”

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The investigation found that crime complaints were changed to reflect misdemeanor rather than felony crimes, which prevented those incidents from being counted in the all-important crime statistics. In addition, the investigation concluded that “an unwillingness to prepare reports for index crimes exists or existed in the command.”

Moreover, a significant number of serious index crimes were not entered into the computer tracking system known as OmniForm. “This was more than administrative error,” the probe concluded.

There was an “atmosphere in the command where index crimes were scrutinized to the point where it became easier to either not take the report at all or to take a report for a lesser, non-index crime,” investigators concluded.

You’ll want to read it all.

3 thoughts on “See no evil

  1. The FBI has opened an investigation on the practices of the NYPD in general and Kelly and Bloomberg in particular. Padding arrest reports goes way back. Everybody has to justify their own existence to keep the tax dollars rolling in so…..they lie. That begins the corruption. In the old days the 1st degree was putting the fear of God into someone by talking to and then threating them with additional sanctions. The 2nd degree was actually roughing up and then arresting the person. The 3rd degree was beating the living daylights (with a phone book) out of a person in the basement of the station after they’ve been arrested. Those 3 steps cured 98% of all “troublemakers.” The other 2% were often found dead somewhere. That’s how it still works for the most part.

  2. The reporter, Graham Rayman, who covered this was on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC this morning, and a horrifying revelation is that the officer who meticulously documented this practice in the Bed-Stuy precinct has been treated horribly by the NYPD. He was forced to enter a mental institution, forced to go on leave without pay, and the NYPD sat on this report for two years without informing the officer or his lawyer. The reporter has “obtained” a copy of the report, but it was not given to him through official channels.

  3. Meanwhile this under control department is doing extra jurisdictional spying on citizens that it suspects of terrorism and has military weaponry at the ready.

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