Tags: MidPoint | Frank Serpico | police corruption

Frank Serpico: Police Lawlessness Still Going Unpunished

By    |   Monday, 08 Dec 2014 04:14 PM

Frank Serpico, a retired New York City detective who became famous in the 1970s as a whistleblower against police corruption, told Newsmax TV on Monday that rogue officers still break the law with impunity and that honest cops still have little incentive to call out the criminals in uniform.

"It's 42 years later and you have to ask, when was a police officer indicted for killing an unarmed man and when was a police officer rewarded for reporting corruption in the ranks?" Serpico told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "That's the problem."

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The subject of the acclaimed 1973 movie, "Serpico," starring Al Pacino, the former detective elaborated on a recent op-ed he wrote for the New York Daily News in which he criticized a "shoot-first" mentality in law enforcement and warned that "the police are becoming our enemy."

In the op-ed, he also singled out the white NYPD officer who applied a fatal chokehold to black Staten Island man Eric Garner in July, writing: "This is the use of excessive force for no apparent reason on a guy who is selling loosie cigarettes; what is the threat to your well-being?"

A grand jury's decision to clear the officer in Garner's death has sparked protests nationwide, some of which have turned violent.

Serpico told Berliner on Monday, "Sometimes there are cases where deadly force is required. But how did we get here?"

He said that racial antagonism between police and minorities in New York goes back decades.

"I would hear about it as a young police officer, that the police had a 'goon squad,' they would call it, and they would just go around and beat up people that were on [street] corners or whatever," said Serpico.

As a social worker, before he joined the police force, he said, "I hung out with kids in street gangs, and we'd be standing on a corner and the cops would always come and chase us away.

"I would engage the police officers and I'd say, 'We're not doing nothing. I'm a youth worker. I'm trying to keep the kids out of trouble,' " he said.

Serpico also faulted the media for inflammatory coverage of the Garner story and the Ferguson, Missouri case.

"They look sometimes for controversy rather than solutions," he said.

Serpico said that whatever the ratio of good cops to bad cops in any given force, the ultimate problem is peer pressure — "a police mentality," he called it — that discourages officers sworn to uphold the law from holding one another to the highest standards of conduct.

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Frank Serpico told Newsmax TV on Monday that rogue officers still break the law with impunity and that honest cops still have little incentive to call out the criminals in uniform.
Frank Serpico, police corruption
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2014-14-08
Monday, 08 Dec 2014 04:14 PM
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