Many people think that the worst scandal in today's NYPD concerns its alleged manipulation of crime numbers. They are wrong.
Even worse is how the department retaliated against the whistleblower cop who came forward with proof that bosses in his Brooklyn precinct had in fact manipulated the numbers.
After officer Adrian Schoolcraft secretly tape-recorded his superiors at the 81st precinct, ordering cops to downgrade felonies to misdemeanors, the department went into attack mode.
This culminated on Oct. 31, 2009, when Brooklyn Deputy Chief Mike Marino and a posse of officers yanked Schoolcraft from his Queens apartment in handcuffs and dragged him to Jamaica Hospital, where he was held in its psychiatric ward, against his will, for six days.
So incredible was this story that few, if anyone - inside or outside law enforcement - believed such a thing could happen here in New York City.
This was America, not the old Soviet Union. This was the NYPD, not the KGB.
In short, many people felt there must have been a legitimate reason for the police to have hospitalized Schoolcraft.
Even this reporter, who is open to most police-abuse tales until proven otherwise, found the story simply unbelievable and was slow to investigate, despite an early heads-up from Schoolcraft's father about his son's forced hospital stay.
Instead, in early 2010 the Daily News broke the story, although it focused more on Schoolcraft's allegations of cooking the crime books than on his forced hospitalization.
Since then, Schoolcraft has been vindicated on his crime-downgrading allegations. The top commanders of the 81st precinct have all been given departmental charges and/or been transferred.
But on the hospital front, many people continue to believe that Schoolcraft must be a psycho in need of hospitalization.
The fact that he had not complained to any law enforcement agency but instead filed a $50 million lawsuit against the police department only heightened the sense that the dozen or so police officers had a legitimate reason to break into his apartment after he left work early that October day and drag him off to the hospital.
If Schoolcraft was telling the truth and had nothing to hide, the argument went, why hasn't he provided his full hospital records to an investigative agency?
Well, that is about to change.
Last week, Schoolcraft's attorney, Jon Norinsberg, sent off to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown a signed permission to view Schoolcraft's full Jamaica hospital records, as well as audiotapes of the police raid on Schoolcraft's apartment.
While Brown may love the police a little too much, the Judge, as he is known, is an honest prosecutor and runs an honest shop.
His first assistant, Jack Ryan is also legit. He was the prosecutor, then working for the Attorney General, who two decades ago wrote the report concluding that Tawana Brawley had made up her story of being raped by a group of white men and that Al Sharpton, who rode to national prominence on her lies, was also full of it.
"We haven't received it yet," Ryan said of Schoolcraft's records. "We are anxious to see it. When we do, we will take appropriate action."
THE VANISHING SPOOK (CON'T) Here's some more information on the department's Number Two Spook, Assistant Commissioner of Intelligence Larry Sanchez.
Or rather, the department's former Number Two Spook.
Turns out that Sanchez isn't about to vanish into the night, as this column reported last week. He has already said sayonara to the NYPD.
Apparently, he is so secret that the department made no announcement, official or otherwise, of his departure.
But sources say he has joined the private sector world of international spook-dom and is already out and about, traveling through the Middle East and South Africa, armed with at least one fat government security contract. The sources say he might even open a branch office right back here in little old New York.
Why Intelligence personnel at the NYPD routed a call from this reporter to Sanchez's Chelsea office last week when he was no longer employed by the department is something of a mystery. Maybe they, too, didn't know he had vanished.
Also, this column's statement that Sanchez may have been a CIA liaison to the NYPD is incorrect, sources say. Sanchez had that role when he first appeared at Police Plaza after 9/11 but resigned from the Agency when he became an Assistant Commissioner in 2004.
THE FBI'S NEWFOUND VOICE (CON'T) The name of the FBI's New York spokesman, Richard Kolko, still appeared on last Friday's Bureau press release, headlined: "FBI's New York Office Hosts Director Mueller." But the Bureau has removed Kolko from the press office, law enforcement sources say.
Reason: Justice Department officials in Washington were angered by the way he handled publicity for the Feds' supposedly historic mob takedown 10 days ago.
Kolko upset these officials by alerting the media to the massive roundup of La Cosa Nostra figures in several states without permission from his superiors in Washington.
He spread the word before all 128 suspects had been arrested, which could have tipped off some mobsters to disappear.
He also played favorites and allowed a WNBC-TV camera crew into the area at Fort Hamilton where the arrestees were being processed without Washington's permission.
Despite his departure, let's credit Kolko for his own historic contributions.
At least in the New York area, he was the first in the Bureau to recognize the benefit of communicating outside the main stream media with aggressive public relations aimed at ethnic and smaller news outlets.
Kolko did not return a call for comment.
UNSEEN (at the Citizens Crime Commission's Thursday breakfast for soon-to-be departing FBI Director Mueller): Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
SEEN (glowering behind Michael Bloomberg at the mayor's snow removal news conference the same day): Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Dear Mr. Levitt,
Approximately 2 months ago, My son (Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft) reported his Commanding Officer (Deputy Inspector Mauriello) of the 81st precinct, to I.A.B. regarding him personally destroying Complaint Reports (61's) involving major crimes in Bedford Stuyvesant. My son has also made other reports to I.A.B. with regards to corruption by Police Supervisors of Deputy Inspector Mauriello's administration. Halloween Night, Chief Marino (Brooklyn North), Deputy Inspector Mauriello (81 CO), Captain Lauterborn (81 XO), and multiple unidentified plainclothes, did break-in to my son's apartment in Glendale (Queens), where he was pulled out of bed then assaulted and handcuffed on his bedroom floor then taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was admitted as a psych patient. While lying on the bedroom floor of his apartment, my son observed Chief Marino, and his accomplices, search his desk and through boxes containing evidence, and seized files (paper) my son was keeping, including a digital recorder and the keys to his apartment and car. My son was then taken and held inside the psych ward at Jamaica Hospital, for 1 week, until I could find him and was then only able to get him out with assistance from Attorney, Norman Siegel, who is now his attorney. I'm hoping you might know someone who can help us identify a couple of the plainclothes accomplices that are familiar to my son, but we cannot identify them. My son and I (Larry Schoolcraft) have been hiding out at a hotel, in Queens, since he was released last Friday. We both understand if you don't believe this could really happen, either did we, but I think you can help us with information. Thank you for your time and we would greatly appreciate any response... Can we meet?