The 81st precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant has been the epicenter of a Serpico-led storm on the NYPD this year, with allegations of stat manipulation and under-reporting. Last night, City Council members and community leaders in Brooklyn held a closed-door meeting to discuss the allegations, and decided to send NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly a letter asking him to relieve 81st precinct commander Steven Mauriello of duty.
Mauriello, who has been precinct commander since 2008, is one of the voices heard on the digital recordings Officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded over the course of a year at the 81st. The Village Voice reported that among other things, supervisors such as Mauriello can be heard on the tapes ordering officers to make arrests with the intent of coming up with a charge later, rounding up people on low level charges such as "blocking the sidewalk" or not having identification, and holding them for hours. Councilman Al Vann, who called the two hour meeting yesterday, was "shocked" at some of the comments on the recordings that "went beyond the normal procedure of what we would expect from a police force."
About Mauriello in particular, he sounded disappointed: "It would seem to be two deputy inspectors: one that I know, who is very responsive to the community, and one who is I believe, in responding to his superiors, has become overly aggressive in trying to make the statistics look good in the district." Schoolcraft is less sentimental about his old commanding officer: "His command is as large as some small cities. He runs it like a factory in another country where there are no civil rights."