It seems the "ratdemic" isn't just taking over the streets of the UWS and UES: a retired Brooklyn police officer is filing a federal lawsuit against the NYPD, claiming that he was labeled a "rat" and forced out by colleagues for doing his job honestly. The lawsuit largely stems from the botched investigation of the death of Marcello Lopez in 2005, for which Detective James Griffin was one of the primary investigators.

Lopez was chased and beaten by a group of people in Bushwick after he crashed his car and tried to flee; he died two weeks later, but cops weren't sure if his injuries resulted from the beating or the car accident. Griffin's partner, Detective Michael O'Keefe, allegedly failed to interview Lopez while in the hospital, and then pressured Griffin to take the blame, vowing to point the finger at him whether he accepted or not. "I wasn't going to take the blame for something I didn't do. I refused to do it," Griffin said. After he reported O'Keefe to Internal Affairs, colleagues threatened him, refused to work with him and scrawled "rat" on his locker. He was transferred two times thereafter and faced similar hostility in the workplace; according to his suit, one supervisor, Lt. Michael Miltenberg, stared at him in front of other cops and said, "There's a rat in here."

The likely reason O'Keefe wanted Griffin to take the blame was because O'Keefe is no stranger to controversy— he came to notoriety in 1991, when he shot Jose Garcia in Washington Heights, sparking riots and reports of police brutality. He was eventually cleared of any wrong doing. An internal investigation found O'Keefe in fault for the Lopez investigation, and he retired last year. Earlier this year, allegations about police corruption and stat "juking" pervaded Brooklyn's 81st division, which also prompted an officer to be labeled a "rat."