Serpico, 76, who was credited with exposing corruption inside the NYPD in the 1970s, is joining forces with a whistleblower suing the police department for $50 million. David Handschuh/New York Daily News
Officer Adrian Schoolcraft is suing the NYPD after police allegedly dragged him off to a mental hospital after he accused them of fudging crime stats. Serpico, 76, was credited with exposing corruption inside the NYPD in the 1970s.
By Rocco Parascandola
Two whistleblowers are better than one.
Frank Serpico has joined the legal team of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, a cop suing the NYPD for $50 million after police allegedly dragged him off to a mental hospital after he accused them of fudging crime stats.
“This is the way they do it,” Serpico told The News. “They make you a psycho and everything you do gets discounted. But I told Adrian just to tell the truth as he knows it and to be himself. When you tell the truth, they can’t do a damn thing to you.”
Serpico, 76, was credited with exposing corruption inside the NYPD. He testified in front of the Knapp Commission in 1971 and retired the following year. His career was captured on the big screen in the 1973 movie “Serpico,” starring Al Pacino as the Brooklyn-born cop.
Though decades apart, both Serpico and Schoolcraft worked at one point at the 81st Precinct in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Schoolcraft accused supervisors there of downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, enforcing arrest quotas and refusing to log crime complaints from the public.
He secretly recorded his superiors talking about cooking the books and arresting people for doing nothing more than standing on the street.
Schoolcraft said that on Halloween night 2009, police pulled him from his Queens apartment under the guise that he was a danger to himself — then took him to the psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital, where he remained for six days.
Serpico said news stories about the case brought back bad memories.
“It was like I was reading something back in 1960,” he said.
Schoolcraft, 37, joined the NYPD in 2002. He has been under suspension for more than two years and is living upstate. Serpico said he will advise Schoolcraft in any way he can and plans to attend the trial. No date has been set.
A police source said Schoolcraft was taken to the hospital because of concerns for his mental well-being. Police officials have also said cops took Schoolcraft’s allegations seriously. An internal report backed Schoolcraft’s allegations, finding problems with about three dozen crime reports, including 11 he gave investigators, sources said.
The precinct supervisor, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, was transferred in July 2010. He was later slapped with departmental charges, accusing him of tampering with police reports and misleading investigators.