Welcome Graham A. Rayman (The Village Voice) (Alternet) and Host Leonard Levitt (website – NYPD Confidential)(HuffingtonPost)

The NYPD Tapes: A Shocking Story of Cops, Cover-ups, and Courage

Graham Rayman’s The NYPD Tapes is sub-titled: A Shocking Story of Cops, Coverups and Courage.

Courage applies in part to Adrian Schoolcraft, the whistleblowing police officer at the center of one of the more bizarre of the NYPD’s ongoing scandals.

Courage also applies to Rayman, who wrote about Adrian Schoolcraft despite his lack of cooperation and the lack of cooperation of Schoolcraft’s manipulative father Larry. But Rayman is first and foremost an honest reporter. Even without their cooperation he persevered, and completed this important book.

Schoolcraft worked in the relatively high-crime 81st precinct in Brooklyn, and he was not a happy camper as a cop. A loner, he began to secretly tape recording precinct roll calls at which commanding officers ordered patrol cops like himself  to make it difficult for victims of crimes to make formal complaints. Equally disturbing, cops were also ordered to downgrade felonies — serious crimes — to less serious misdemeanors so that the precinct would appear safer than it actually was.

Schoolcraft’s tape recordings might well have been ignored or forgotten, had not the police department then done something that was indeed shocking.

On the day of Halloween in 2009, Schoolcraft left his tour early, saying he felt sick, and returned to his apartment in Queens. A few hours later a police posse, led by a Deputy Chief, appeared at his apartment and took him, against his will, to nearby Jamaica Hospital, saying he needed medical help. Despite his protests, the hospital admitted him and held him in its psychiatric ward for the next five days.

Whether this was retaliation for leaving his tour early without permission, or whether it was retaliation for his recording the roll calls as Schoolcraft’s father maintained, the department left a paper trail of what it did that they have yet to explain.

Four years later, neither Police Commissioner Ray Kelly nor Mayor Michael Bloomberg has offered any explanation for an action that seems more appropriate to the old Soviet Union and its KGB than to New York City and the NYPD.

Schoolcraft was released from the hospital after a week. He and his father then left the city for upstate Johnstown, where Larry Schoolcraft had grown up. Meanwhile Larry alerted the media to what the department had done to his son, declaring that his son’s forced hospitalization was retaliation for his blowing the whistle on his precinct commanders.

The Schoolcrafts, father and son, hired an attorney who sued the NYPD in federal court for $50 million.

Meanwhile there was enough of a hue and cry among the city’s media and local politicians that the department was forced to address Schoolcraft’s allegations about the 81st precinct. The department announced an investigation and determined that its 81 precinct commanders had indeed downgraded crimes. The precinct’s top commanders were all transferred and disciplined.

Other allegations had surfaced years before that the downgrading of crimes was not confined to the 81st precinct but was a city-wide phenomenon. But when the chairman of the Mayor’s Commissioner to Combat Police Corruption sought to investigate, Kelly refused to turn over department records. Mayor Bloomberg did and said nothing and the chairman resigned.

With the publicity increasing over the Schoolcraft case, Kelly announced the appointment of a three-man, blue-ribbon panel to examine the department’s crime-reporting. This time he promised to cooperate. He promised a report within six months. Instead, the investigation continued for two years. By the time the panel issued its report, concluding that the downgrading was indeed citywide, one of the three members had died and interest in Schoolcraft had waned.

At the same time, the NYPD sent officers upstate to Johnstown, harassing the Schoolcrafts and urging Adrian to return to work. Clearly, the pressure was getting to them. Adrian and Larry were running out of money and were fighting with each other.

They fired their first attorney, hired a second attorney and fired him.

“The father wants us to go after Kelly, Bloomberg, the FBI, everyone under the son,” said their first attorney, Jon Norinsberg. “We’ve had a complete communications breakdown.”

He added that Adrian had disappeared for weeks on end and he had enlisted the legendary NYPD cop, Frank Serpico, who lived near the Schoolcrafts, to help find him.

Serpico, who had come forward about police corruption 40 years before and who lived near the Schoolcrafts, identified with Adrian Schoolcraft’s ordeal. He knew firsthand the pressures the department can exert upon an individual who goes against the system.

As he put it: “The department wants to undermine all that they stand for by painting them as malcontents, nuts, psychos.” That, he said, was precisely what they had done to him four decades ago.

Rayman in his book recounts all this. He describes the Schoolcrafts not as saints, but as human beings in torment.

Yet their lawsuit continues. The facts have begun to emerge. Federal Judge Robert Sweet ruled last week against Jamaica Hospital, which had sought to prevent Schoolcraft from discussing his forced incarceration.

This story is not over as the police department has hoped. It may be just the beginning.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

107 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Graham A. Rayman, The NYPD Tapes: A Shocking Story of Cops, Cover-ups, and Courage”

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Graham, Leonard, Welcome to the Lake.

Len, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.


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RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:00 pm

A quick one: Is a trial set?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:00 pm

thank you for having me on.

dakine01 September 1st, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Graham and Len and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon.

Graham, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but I do have a vague recollection of reading a couple of your original articles. Has Ray Kelly tried to deny any of this? Or are the actions you detail that were done to Schoolcraft just part and parcel of the things such as “stop and frisk” and the declaration of mosques as terrorist organizations?

Did Serpico feel that he was re-living the things that were done to him?

It does seem like the NYPD can make more bad headlines for themselves than even the US military

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:01 pm

no. there was a tentative date in september, but that was put off, as i say in the book, by a slow it down strategy from the city and conflicts between the schoolcrafts and their lawyers.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:02 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Hello, Everybody. Ask away with your queestins.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:02 pm

My first question:Graham, why did you write this book. Why do you think it is important?

dakine01 September 1st, 2013 at 2:04 pm

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for everyone to follow the conversation.

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RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:04 pm

How are the Schoolcrafts doing? Did they react to your book. It is a fascinating story.

Elliott September 1st, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hi

Now I know why crime rates dropped.

What a sad story.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Ray Kelly hasn’t directly addressed my articles, except for a couple of comments by his spokesman Paul Browne in 2010. But Kelly did transfer the chief who ordered school craft into the psych ward, and transferred and charged schoolcraft’s precinct commander. he also issued several departmental order to the rank and file reorganizing how sex crimes are investigated, and reminding officers that they can’t play games with crime reports. he mightily resisted any change to the stop and frisk strategy but lost the fight earlier this month when a federal judge ordered a monitor to oversee the NYPD.
As for serpico, i think he saw a kindred spirit in school craft, and it’s fair to say that he has never fully gotten past his treatment by the nypd, particularly the fact that after he was shot, his fellow officers never transmitted a 10-13 (officer in need of assistance).

re the trial date, i just wanted to add that no depositions have been taken, so i don’t expect a trial for another six months to a year.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:09 pm

thanks len…first, just from a journalist’s perspective, the tapes were an extraordinary, unprecedented window into the operations of a typical police precinct–how cops talk to each other when the public isn’t around. On top of that, here was hard evidence of downgrading of crime complaints, pressuring victims to change their stories, orders that led to civil rights abuses, and quotas for summonses and stop and frisks (those quotas are really what drove the stop and frisks so high over the past eight years)

RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Looks like that 1st attorney really “did him wrong.”

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to RevBev @ 9

At this point, they have gone quiet, in large part because of the lawsuit.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Graham: But this is more than a “crime-reporting” problem. There are real consequences to it. Could you explain what you discovedred in Upper Manhattan, which you wrote about in the Village Voice and noted in your book?

RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:12 pm

How are they doing? I bet they like your book.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:12 pm

His first attorney, Jon Norinsberg, and his partners worked for two years on the case, and did what they could with what they had. the school crafts didn’t feel it was enough. Norinsberg disagrees. He told me that this was the kind of case you go to law school for.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Graham, Why do you think the Schoolcrafts got so down on Norinsberg? Are they merely ignorant of the law or was is there something else going on?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 15

sure…what was happening was the crime victims were being victimized again by the precinct who gave them a hard time about their complaints. this was most shockingly apparent in the story of Det. Harold Hernandez, a distinguished investigator who uncovered the fact that a serial rapist had gone undetected and attacked at least six women because their crime reports were classified not as rape/robberies, but as misdemeanors like trespassing, just so his precinct commander would look better. when Hernandez complained he was told to keep his mouth shut, and the whole affair was covered up, even as the rapist got 50 years in prison. the manhattan da’s office was also complicit in covering up the story. it was only eight years later after hernandez had retired in disgust, and he reached out to me to tell me the story.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Why do you think the Manhattan DA went along with the coverup?

Phoenix Woman September 1st, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I keep thinking of Kelly’s predecessors under Giuliani, Bernie Kerik and Bill Bratton. Giuliani hated Bratton and forced him out over a book deal, a sin for which Giuliani’s bobo Kerik would be given a slap on the wrist when he did much the same thing — before he was caught for far more serious offenses.

Bratton went on to a stellar career with the LAPD and now advises the UK’s Metropolitan police; Kerik was still in prison last time I checked.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:21 pm

There’s no doubt that the Schoolcrafts were difficult clients. i think there was conflict over control of the course of the lawsuit. the school crafts wanted to broaden the case, depose everyone from the mayor and the police commissioner on down. Norinsberg, a former city attorney, believed the case had to be narrowed to make it really strong. there were a lot of arguments through 2012 over these issues. the schoolcrafts also felt he didn’t put enough of his won resources into the case. Norinsberg disagrees with that assessment. and i also think that the schoolcrafts didn’t fully understand what it would be like to sue the city. they expected things to move faster. the city has fought a very effective delay campaign. and finally, we can’t forget that adrian and larry are just two guys taking on a $4 billion agency with unlimited legal resources. they have no money. they have been living hand to mouth for three years now. they were under tremendous pressure, and that also helped cause the tension between them and the lawyers.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:22 pm

You are 100 per cent correct on all counts except the one about Bratton’s advising theMetropolitan Police. I think that’a adead issue. But you sure know the NYPD.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:23 pm

What hernandez told me was that the two prosecutors on the case were very angry, but they kept the whole affair a secret so as not to embarrass the police department. what surprised me more was that the victims never filed a lawsuit. i was able to interview one of them, and she said i was the first person to tell her about the cover-up. she was understandably upset all over again about it.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Graham, So what kind of shape are the Schoolcrfats in now? How do you see this all playing out?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Yes, Bratton is consulting with the city of Oakland currently.

potsdam602 September 1st, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hello. There is so much about NYC that I love.
Do you think visitors will be safe from being tazed and frisked while visiting NYC after BloomB is out of office?
Do you see any way BloomB and Kelly could still be there after late Jan 2014?
Also, do you have any ideas if it was a random vacation that had NYC Mayor Ghoul…(sp?) in London on 7/7?

Moderator Note: While these may be interesting questions, they do not have any real relation to the topic of this Book Salon

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Well, they are still living hand to mouth. Larry, the father, has a modest pension. Adrian has not been able to find work. The NYPD actually blocked their attempt to get on public assistance. The lawsuit has become all-consuming for them.
As for the end game, they have said all along that they are not going to settle, that they are going to trial, to put the whole story out in the public eye. I can only see them settling if their finances totally fall apart. In addition, i think adrian needs to have some kind of positive outcome here for him to be able to move on from this ordeal.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:28 pm

You’ll be safe. No way Bloomberg and Kelly will be there. Unless Bloomb erg at the last minute spens a billion dollars to change another law to allow him to run again. After he pulled thatin 2009, there was so much anger, he wouldn’t dare try it again.

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Graham,
As a technical note,
there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and number you are replying to and helps for everyone in following the conversation.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Graham, Can you tell us something about how and why the NYPD blocked Adrian’s trying to get public assitance?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Len, I agree…despite Christine Quinn pledging she would keep Kelly on, i doubt she will in the end if elected.

RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Has the hospital paid off yet or it still in litigation? I don’t recall.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:32 pm

And the more things go on, the less certain it is that she will be elected–largely because of her saying she will keep Kelly, no?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:33 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 31

Sure, the schoolcrafts asked the fulton county social service agency for public assistance in 2010, right around the time that the NYPD was conducting its investigation into adrian. One of his antagonists in the precinct, a lieutenant, found out about the application, and informed his bosses, who sent fulton county a letter saying that he was technically still employed by the NYPD (suspended without pay) and demanded that he not be allowed to receive welfare benefits. fulton county agreed, and blocked the benefits. I saw the move as a way to pressure schoolcraft.

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Was the corruption of the “statistics” more prevalent in the 81st Precinct or was it the same in all the NYPD?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to RevBev @ 33

Hospital fighting all the way. Perhaps Graham can tell us about Juge Sweet’s latest ruling on their gag attempt.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to RevBev @ 33

Jamaica Hospital is indeed still very much in the midst of the lawsuit. most recently, they tried to convince the judge to impose a gag order on all of the parties, even the lawyers.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:35 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 34

Yeah, i think Quinn has a bit too much baggage from her close association with Mayor Bloomberg.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Now that sounds purely retaliatory.

RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:37 pm

In the area where they are living, do they have any friends/anyone?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Graham, Perhaps when you get a moment, you could explain how the tapes came to be made.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:38 pm
In response to BevW @ 36

there has never been a comprehensive independent examination of the crime statistics, so i don ‘t know the answer to this question. but if you accept the 81 as a typical police precinct, then it is logical to conclude it was happening elsewhere. also, in the schoolcraft tapes, you can hear how much of the pressure was coming down on the precinct commander from headquarters and the borough commands. so, no, i don’t think this was a rogue precinct.
here’s a link to my article on the results of kelly’s crime stats panel:
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/07/nypd_tapes_upda_1.php

potsdam602 September 1st, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Good to hear Leonard at 29. Thanks.
In truth, I have a few friends with heart conditions-who could very well die if they were tazered. And these are only good citizens who might ask questions if the police are acting without empathy or conscience. Police seem to think one size fits all with tazers. And, tazers seem to have replaced all human problem solving skills for ‘law enforcement.’ Mentioned here in the past– ID bracelets with ‘Do Not Taze’ need to be issued by cardiologists.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to RevBev @ 41

they live a fairly solitary life in Johnstown NY, which is north of albany. Adrian has a hobby of helping to care for rescued animals, and is often in schenectady volunteering with a local rescue organization.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to potsdam602 @ 44

I think that’s being a little too harsh, regarding Tasers. The NYPD rarely uses them — especially since the last time they did, in 2009, a victim fell from a second floor ledge and was killed.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Graham, What do you think about the Tasers?

RevBev September 1st, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Im really glad he can do that.

marymccurnin September 1st, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Does this mean that crime really hasn’t gone down across the country in the last few years? Are all police depts manipulating the stats? And I wonder how many more people were victimized by the criminals than were never tracked down and arrested.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 42

sure, adrian went along with the program for the first few years of his career. but when steven mauriello came to the 81 as precinct commander, the quota pressure sharply increased, as did the pressure to downgrade crimes. adrian started to object, and they started to squeeze him. he began carrying the digital recorder to both protect himself from them, and to build evidence of things happening in the precinct that he disagreed with. by then of course, digital recorders were small enough to hide in his shirt pocket, and they could record for his entire tour. he would then go home at night and download the recordings into his computer, and then transcribe bits that were important. he did it for more than 18 months.

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Where there any other examples of the negative effects on the NYC victims of crimes?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:45 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 47

Yes, i don’t think the department uses them all that often, and in some circumstances, they can be useful when you are trying to end a bad situation without using deadly force. the 2009 incident was a worst case scenario and the commander made a regrettable decision.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 49

Crime has gone down across the country. Maybe not as much as police departments claim becasue they do manipulate statistics. But the bellwhether crime is murder. You cant manipulate that and murders are declining. As the late Jack Maple, one of Bill Bratton’s top aides, put it, You can’t hide dead bodies.
Graham, would you agree?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 49

This is a very broad question, but clearly crime went down across the country over the past 20 years, and the reasons for it are many and complex. since there has been no comprehensive study of this question, it’s hard to say how much manipulation is going on. but as i note in the book, as compstat spread to other departments, many of those departments also had crime reporting scandals.
the dynamic is this: in the first few years of compstat, it was easier to reduce crime. as time went on, it became harder to keep getting the same large reductions. so commanders began to evolve a whole variety of ways to “fudge” their stats. At the same time, compstat success became the key to promotion. so commanders had major incentive to play games with their stats.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:53 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 53

yes, i absolutely agree. you can’t hide dead bodies. what i learned from the schoolcraft case was that they were messing around with other categories, like grand larceny and auto theft, and robberies. it’s easier to drop a grand larceny (felony) to a petit larceny (misdemeanor) than hide a homicide. so i think the routine cases, particularly the ones that are hard to solve, were the ones most likely to be manipulated.

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Have the adoption of the crime-statistics in other police departments across the country resulted in the same “abuses” to crime victims? Are Police Departments chasing numbers instead of criminals? Has there been identified corruption cases?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:56 pm
In response to BevW @ 51

sure, there are a lot. as i detail in the book, there was an aspiring screenwriter who was jumped and beaten. when he told the police he could not identify his attackers, the officers told him they couldn’t take his complaint.
there was a woman who was attacked in a park in upper manhattan and her case was downgraded. it was only when she went public that the commander was obliged to apologize to her.
the two criminologists, John Eterno and Eli SIlverman, have published several papers with the results of surveys of retired commanders who told them that manipulation was more prevalent under compstat than before the strategy was implemented.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to BevW @ 56

sure. just a couple of examples: in philadelphia, 1,700 rape case were classified in a non criminal category. the police department there had to publicly admit it and revamp the way sex crimes are handled. In Baltimore, the chief had to suspend compstat because of allegations of manipulation of the numbers.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Graham, If Bratton was the father of COMPSTAT, how do you see the differen ces between the department then and now under Ray Kelly?

potsdam602 September 1st, 2013 at 3:04 pm

In reading about gang crime somewhere, learned that a high percent of crimes are done by the same people, and it was interesting to learn that a surprising percent of victims seemed to be repeat victims. Has the repeat victim thing lessened?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Graham, Can you describe your own relations with the Schoolcrafts? Did they run the gamut from hot to cold? As you know, Larry, the father, stopped talking to me a long time ago becuase he didnt like something I wrote about him.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:04 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 59

i believe that the practice of counting things in computer spreadsheets, which is the backbone of tracking crime under compstat, just continued to grow and become more sophisticated, to the point where you had borough commanders and even headquarters looking at the “productivity” numbers of individual cops. at the same time, the discretion of patrol officers was undermined to where sgts, lts. captain, and precinct commanders were getting involved in the routine taking of crime reports, and even calling back victims to try to get them to change their stories. under Kelly, I think the pressure intensified, and at the same time, it was getting harder and harder to show 1990s era crime declines. so, again, the commanders–interested in promotion–evolved these under the table ways of making their numbers look better.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:07 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 61

Sure…they did run hot and cold…it’s important to keep in mind that they are under a lot of pressure from the lawsuit and their finances, so i could understand that they would have conflicts with people. there have been periods where they constantly talked to me and periods of silence. things have been pretty quiet lately, which i chalk up to the lawsuit.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to potsdam602 @ 60

i’m afraid i can’t speak knowledgeably on this question.

allan September 1st, 2013 at 3:08 pm

The routine lying to the public by the NYPD on the last few years has been fairly shocking.
I was amazed that Notre Dame would think it a good idea to hire Kelly’s liar-in-chief Paul Browne
as VP for public affairs and communications.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:13 pm
In response to allan @ 65

You are absolutely right. Must be an Irish thing. In his defense, all I can say is he lies very professionally — that is, he sounds very convincing — until you check out the facts.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:14 pm
In response to allan @ 65

i can’t speak to notre dame’s decision, but i will say that one of the things i found most shocking about this story is that at the same time that the nypd was trying to discredit schoolcraft, and investigating as if he was a criminal, it was sitting on a report which validated almost all of his downgrading allegations. i knew that there was an ongoing investigation on his allegations, but whenever i asked the department for its status, i was stonewalled. when i tried to obtain the report through the freedom of information law, i was rebuffed and dared to sue. when i finally got the report through back channels in 2012, i was shocked to learn that it had been completed 18 months earlier. a source told me that it was considered so sensitive, that only a few copies were made.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Graham, Can spell out exactly what was in the report. Can you also tell us how they prevented you from going to the news conference when they issued their own report from the three-man panel with the two year delay on downgrading crimes city-wide.

marymccurnin September 1st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I haven’t read all of the questions and responses yet. I apologize if this has been asked. How was Adrian so successful in hiding his recording device? Seems the cops would have been a bit more vigilant. Or did they find one and think that was the only device?

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Since the NYPD Tapes story broke, what procedures inside the NYPD have changed? Are they still using the crime-stats in the same form – or have they backed away from it?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:19 pm

And all the more telling since it was your reporting that was largely responsible for tht report.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 69

You are right. He made a hidden back-up. Maybe Graham can go into that in more detail.

emptywheel September 1st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Yet people like Schumer still consider Kelly a candidate to replace Janet Napolitano.

Can both of you explain how Kelly especially manages to retain such a teflon public reputation in spite of all the terrible things that happened under him?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:21 pm

One of my favorite Browne stories was when I was told that the NYPD had used a controversial anti-Islam documentary in training sessions in Brooklyn, Browne swore up and down that the film had never been shown. When my colleague Tom Robbins went back to Browne on this, and then wrote the story despite his denials, an outcry erupted. browne was then obligated to say it had been shown a couple of times. Months later, we learned the truth: more than 1,500 police officers had seen the video.

bmaz September 1st, 2013 at 3:23 pm

You talked above about the relative crime rate (drop) and the policing under the different chiefs. Where do you think the story and framing you tell intersects with the profiling and terrorist programs in the Intelligence Unit that is effectively CIANYPD that has been detailed by Goldman and Appuzzo?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:24 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 73

I wish I knew what is driving Schumer here. He has continually taken Kelly’s side in his battles with the FBI. He has nothing about Stop and frisk or about the Muslim spying.

But I cant see Obama appointing him. Too muchy baggage, which seems to be getting heavier day by day.

As to the reason for his teflon rep: It’s one word: 9/11. The city as a whole was terrorized by the attacks and Kelly, saying that the FBI had failed to proect NYC from 9/ll, presented himself as the lone man standing between the city and another attack.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to bmaz @ 75

Forcibly hospitalizing Schoolcraft dovetails with the AP reporting in that Police Commissiner Kelly considers the NYPD above the law.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 68

the report was made by the Quality Assurance Division. Schoolcraft, having been ignored by his precinct bosses, went to QAD to report 13 documented instances of downgrading of crimes. he met with them for two hours, which of course he secretly recorded. QAD began investigating. in June of 2010, they filed their report. they confirmed 12 of the 13 allegations, and found numerous other instances of downgrading in the precinct. rather than make the report public, the nypd buried it and continued to go after schoolcraft’s reputation.

as to the second question, Kelly named a crime stats panel of former federal prosecutors in january, 2011 in part in response to the school craft scandal. it was supposed to be finished with its work in six months. the panel took more than two and a half years to produce its report. on the day it was release, they scheduled a press conference. when i asked for access to headquarters to attend the press conference, browne refused to let me attend. i should note that the report repeatedly cited my work.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/07/nypd_tapes_upda_1.php

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Graham, How do you see the Schoolcraft case in light of the Stopand Frisk and the Muslim spying? Would you agree that all of them show the NYPD aboe the law?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 69

at various times, he used three recorders. one was a watch recorder, and the other two fit in his shirt pocket. on the night he was taken to the psych ward, he had two recorders going. they only got one of them.

potsdam602 September 1st, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thank you, moderator, and will do. The ‘NYC, Cops, & Cover-Ups’ part lent itself to my OT questions. Am enjoying very much reading others’ questions and answers regarding Leonard’s book, The NYPD Tapes.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:32 pm
In response to BevW @ 70

Kelly issued several departmental orders reminding officers not to play games with crime victims. that order details some of the very same tactics used in the 81st precinct, such as telling victims to go to a different precinct to report their crimes. He also transferred and ordered disciplinary investigations of the precinct commander and several other officers, and he created the crime stats panel, but i was always under the impression that he did the minimum.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:33 pm

and i would add that it was shocking that no outside agency got involved immediately and investigated schoolcraft’s allegations. only the queens district attorney looked into it and that was a tepid investigation. they only talked to schoolcraft once and for less than two hours.

marymccurnin September 1st, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Adrian seemed to have everything very well thought out. He knew who he was dealing with. So did his dad. (I have read the book, by the way. And enjoyed it.)

Elliott September 1st, 2013 at 3:36 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 77

so looking forward to him heading the DHS /NOT

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:37 pm

And I think it would be fair to say that the Queens DA’s office is a pro-police operation.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:37 pm
In response to bmaz @ 75

Graham, How do you see the Schoolcraft case in light of the Stopand Frisk and the Muslim spying? Would you agree that all of them show the NYPD aboe the law?

yes, i think it demonstrates the tremendous power that kelly has, mayor bloomberg has basically allowed him to do what he wants. and we see the fruits of that failure to manage in some of these scandals.

i should add that schoolcraft did get a measure of success in that his recordings were played in the stop and frisk class action lawsuit…but he doesn’t think it is enough. he still wants someone held accountable for the way he was treated.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:38 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 84

thanks very much for the kind words.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:41 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 86

Yeah, the DA and the police need to cooperate, so unless an investigation is sanctioned by the nypd, the DAs have little incentive to go after them. The Queens DA basically blew off the school crafts for more than a year, and then just happened to release their “comprehensive” report finding that there was no wrongdoing by the police commander who dragged him out of his apartment at a time when the schoolcrafts had no lawyers.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Graham, What do you see or hope to see coming out of the Schoolcraft case?

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Do you see the Feds / DOJ coming into this case in the future?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:44 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 90

For me, this is such a fascinating story. Schoolcraft has been through such a tough time, that i hope in the end he has an outcome that is satisfying for him. Serpico at least got to testify in the famous Knapp Commission hearings. Schoolcraft hasn’t yet had his Serpico moment.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:46 pm
In response to BevW @ 91

the feds, meaning the civil rights division for the US Attorney for the eastern district of new york, did interview school craft for about an hour in 2010 or 2011 but then they disappeared.
i know there was talk in the schoolcraft camp of going to the justice department’s main civil rights division but i haven’t heard yet whether that was done.
the more time that passes the less likely the feds will come in.

marymccurnin September 1st, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Are the Schoolcrafts unreasonable in their search for justice ? I understand how badly they were abused but have they burned too many bridges to be effect plaintiffs?

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Where is William Bratton now – what is he doing?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Graham,I think that one of the reasons he hasn’t gotten his Serpico moment is that Serpico was a sympatheic figure. And whereas Schoolcraft was viewed sympathetically at the outset becuase of his hospital ordeal, his own subsequent hide and seek behavior coupled with that of his brow-beating father Larry have made things difficult for them. The saddest thing in all this, as Serpico has said, is that their message may be lost. What do you think?

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:49 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 94

this is a good question…i would say that the delay caused in part by their conflict with their lawyers probably hurt their case, but the lawsuit is still active and it’s still a pretty strong case. i think to some extent the demands they made of their previous lawyers were a bit too much. plus, the city and the hospital are fighting them on everything, including discovery and the basic trial schedule.

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:49 pm
In response to BevW @ 95

Bratton is hoping he will be the next NYPD commissioner.

BevW September 1st, 2013 at 3:50 pm

As we come to the last few minutes of this great Book Salon discussion,

Graham, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book.

Len, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Graham’s website (Village Voice) and book (NYPD Tapes)

Len’s website (NYPDConfidential.com) and book(s) (NYPD Confidential)

Thanks all, Have a great holiday weekend.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:50 pm
In response to BevW @ 95

Bratton is currently consulting with the city of Oakland. that’s about all i know.

wagonjak September 1st, 2013 at 3:50 pm

How did the police FIND OUT about these tapes? Was this after he had gotten suspended with pay or while he was still on full duty?

Leonard Levitt September 1st, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Thank you, Beverly. A pleasure working with you and with Graham.

marymccurnin September 1st, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Great book salon. Once again, I found the book to be very well written and enlightening.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:54 pm
In response to Leonard Levitt @ 96

Graham,I think that one of the reasons he hasn’t gotten his Serpico moment is that Serpico was a sympatheic figure. And whereas Schoolcraft was viewed sympathetically at the outset becuase of his hospital ordeal, his own subsequent hide and seek behavior coupled with that of his brow-beating father Larry have made things difficult for them. The saddest thing in all this, as Serpico has said, is that their message may be lost. What do you think?

yes, the circumstances are a lot different. and yes, the schoolcrafts have made some mistakes in handling the aftermath of their ordeal. i always thought adrian should have stayed in the city instead of going back to johnstown, but they had financial issues to consider.
i try to keep in mind that they are just two guys going up against a $4 billion agency, and that’s going to cause conflict and lead to mistakes…i also think that he received some measure of validation when the federal judge who ordered an independent monitor of the NYPD (for the first time ever) noted she relied heavily on his recordings in making her decision. he has already had serious impact.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to wagonjak @ 101

How did the police FIND OUT about these tapes? Was this after he had gotten suspended with pay or while he was still on full duty?

they knew he had recorded the night he was taken to the psych ward. they didn’t know about the extent of his recordings until i reported in the village voice. at that time he was suspended without pay.

Graham A. Rayman September 1st, 2013 at 3:58 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 103

Thanks very much. A big thank you to Len Levitt, for presiding. If you folks haven’t read his book, NYPD Confidential, you should. it’s fantastic. And thanks Bev, for arranging the talk. most appreciated.

Elliott September 1st, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thank you both for coming, what a story. I hope Schoolcraft makes out in the end. Best of luck with the book.

Thanks Bev!

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