Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Corrupt Police, Good Police, and Republican Mayors

Leonard Levitt. NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Country’s Greatest Police Force. New York” St. Martin’s Press: Thomas Dunne Books, 2009.

John Guido, head of NYPD Internet Affairs for 15 years, observed that corruption has been a part of the New York police culture. Detective Frank Serpico went public with corruption which led to the Knapp Commission in 1970 that found corruption at all levels. There was a continuation of corrupt practices discovered by the Lexom Commission in the 1890s. Police were known to shake down the public and criminals. The Knapp Commission discovered officers known as “grass eaters” and “meat eaters” depending on the degree of corrupt practices in which they engaged. The police had a culture of covering up their misdoings. Reports were altered to make the police falsely appear correct. The highest uniformed officer, the Chief Inspector, admitted to receiving improper gifts from business leaders. Reports of corruption were reported to Mayor John Lindsay, who looked the other way in hopes of keeping the police ready in case of riots, which did occur.

Ironically, after the Knapp Commission, police leadership focused more on preventing policy corruption than on fighting crime. There was less managerial concern about the rising crime rate than on avoiding corrupt practices. Precinct cops and squad detectives were steered away from making drug arrests, which had led to kickbacks. Instead, arrests were made by specialized units, which resulted in decreased arrest rates. Broken police command led to tragic consequences.

The police were left to continue monitoring themselves. Yet, 33 officers were convicted of drug related charges. The Mollen Commission studied the police and concluded that officers placed loyalty to each other above the truth. Kelly slowly and reluctantly removed some senior officer alleged to be part of cover-ups. A permanent police monitoring agency was proposed but Mayor Guiliani opposed the idea.

Ray Kelly became Police Commissioner and he aggressively recruited more African American police officers with methods including speaking at Black churches. While actual recruitment efforts were not as good as expected, Kelly achieved greater goodwill from the African American community.

Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner saw the murder rate decline during his tenure. He was known for fighting police corruption. His successful tenure at lowering crime helped boost the image of Mayor Rudy Guiliani. Yet Guiliani replaced him with William Bratton.

Bratton had been Chief of New York’s Transit Police. He introduced a new philosophy of going after the most common crimes, such as fare beaters, because this would more easily reduce more serious crime. A 13% decrease in fare beating coincided with a 40% decrease in robberies, the first decrease in subway crime in about ten years.

Transit chief Bratton created wolf pack squads who would seek and arrest an entire gang of young criminals instead of arresting one person to close the case. He realized there was a 210% increase in robberies against Asians because many were illegal immigrants who did not report crimes. He created an Asian decoy squad. He also had Transit Police deliver their department’s own warrants as NYPD was reluctant to do so.

Bratton asked the Three Star Super Chiefs and all 15 Deputy Commissioners to resign. Kelly, in contrast, had kept the top police management. Bratton had NYPD increase arrest of “quality of life” crimes such as squeegee people, graffiti writers, people public urinating, shoplifters, marijuana dealers and users, etc.

Britton’s successes made him more popular than was Mayor Guiliani. Guiliani was not happy with being overshadowed.

1,000 officers, or 4% of all officers, were in the Narcotics Division. Since 30% of crime was related to drugs, Bratton decided to transfer more police into the Narcotics Division. Once again, Bratton received more praise for this than did Guiliani. Guiliani demanded the police press office be reduced from 35 to 17, one less than the 16 who composed the Mayor’s press office. Bratton objected, stating he ran the department. The head of the Press Corps refused to fire people as directed by the Mayor and resigned instead.

It is noted the New York press corps in general was kind towards Mayor Guiliani. The owners of the press had real estate holdings and city government, in turn, seemed to be helpful to those owners. Mortimer Zuckerman of the Daily News owed the city a $33.8 million forfeiture fee that the city government reduced to $17 million.

Giuliani’s office began criticizing Bratton for out of town appearances. It is against Department policy to accept outside reward for public service and it was hinted those appearances violated that. Bratton signed a book contract that received more criticism. Bratton resigned.

Howard Safir was named Police Commissioner. Giuliani swung the spotlight back to his office. Crime continued decreasing. Giuliani, in a slap at Bratton, proclaimed Safir as “the greatest Police Commissioner in the history of New York City”. Under Safir, only minimum information was released to the press. Freedom of information requests took months to be processed through the system. The press office refused to answer how large it was. The author counted 38 press employees, making it larger than it was under Bratton.

The Street Crime Unit was almost all white and its suspects were mostly Black and Hispanic. Also, some African American officers were discouraged dthat only 2 of 49 supervisors were Black. This created some public tensions. Safir increased the Unit’s size by six times to 438. Even some officers warned that some newer officers had been placed too soon into this Unit.

Several police scandals arose. An arrested man was deliberately abused physically and sexually in a police station. Safir canceled appearing before Council to instead attend the Oscars while staying two nights as the guests of George Fellows, the head of Revlon. When this was disclosed in the press, Safir reimbursed Fellows $7,100. There was also a highly controversial shooting of an unarmed Black who had committed no crime by white Streets Crime Unit officers who mistakenly thought he had a gun. Racial tensions arose. Bernard Kerik was named to replace Safir as Commissioner.

Bernard Kerik wrote his autobiography and had an affair with his publisher Judith Regan. She claims the affair was a means Kerik used to get her to publicize the book. He then ended the affair and she claims he stalked and threatened her and her children.

Kerik had been a police officer for eight years achieving the rank of Detective Third Grade. He did not have a college degree unlike all above Lieutenant rank. Kerik had been Guiliani’s bodyguard and driver during his campaign for Mayor. Guiiani swiftly promoted Kerit to leadership in Corrections and then in charge of all city prisons. Giuliani felt Kerik knew police work without having any involvement, and thus was independent, from police leadership.

While Giuliani had criticized Bratton for signing a book contract, he was silent when Kerik signed one. Police resources were used to get information for the book. Kerik used police officers to travel to Ohio for research for his book. Kerit stated the work was not during work time and he reimbursed the officers who traveled to Ohio $838.74. He though was fined $2,500 by the Conflict of Interest Board for having the officers work on his book. Kerit also used official police photograph on 9/11 that Guiliani had previously banned their use.

Kerik formed a subsidiary of Giuilani Partners called Giuliani-Kerik Security. This company received $4.3 millino to work with the Mexico City Police and several millions to assist Trinidad on murder and kidnapping cases.

Kerik was named Secretary of Homeland Security. He withdrew from consideration for the post shortly afterwards. It was disclosed he had received thousands of dollars of gifts while with Corrections and NYPD from Lawrence Ray, who allegedly had ties to organized crime. Kerik was later accused of keeping$75,000 designated for charity. Kerit left Giuliani Partners and started his own Kerik Group with $7 million for military training in Guyana and work in Jordan.

Kerik was later charged for false statements including the $75,000 he did not report and for taking $230,000 in free rent as well as lying on his Homeland Security application by not disclosing $250,000 from an Israeli.

Judith Regan was fired from HarperCollins after aggregations were made that she had stated anti-Semitic comments. Regan claimed she was fired for refusing to lie to Federal investigators about her affair with Kerik. Regan sued HarperCollins and owner Rupert Murdoch. She collected $10 million in a settlement along with a public statement from Murdoch and HarperCollins that Regan is not anti-Semitic.

Michael Bloomberg, as Mayor, administered by delegation. Giuliani, in contrast, sought to be in control. Bloomberg brought Raymond Kelly back as Commissioner. Kelly changed the Intelligence Division to hire more people fluent in Arabic, Urdu, and Pashto.

An antiwar protest in 2003 led to NYPD arresting 274 protestors. They were interrogated about their outside connections, possible security threats, and hold for long periods without food and water. A pregnant woman was among those who suffered through this. Kerry and the head of the Intelligence Division claimed to have known nothing about these procedures.

The crime rate continued decreasing. Some claimed more officers were downgrading complaints of crime to lesser offenses. The police became more transparent on public information.

The Intelligence Division held up an arriving Iranian diplomatic delegation for 40 minutes to count their guns. This was done over objections of the Security Division and others who feared retaliation against American diplomats. The Division was again criticized for arresting 1,806 protests of that 2004 Republican National Convention which did not lead to even one conviction.


Blogger Michelle said...

I want to ask about HOURE.
You have a company called HOURE?
Is this related to WHOORESS?
If so, is it also related to PSYLOPA?
Is he a THOOTES?
Or is he just a CUBAN AK'S MANN?

11:53 AM  

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