It sometimes seems like no good deed goes unpunished when it comes to the NYPD: Officer Adrian Schoolcraft was hounded and discredited for coming forward about quotas in the force, and several off-duty cops have gotten away with drunk driving cover-ups. Today the Village Voice reports on another such cover-up, which took the reputation and dignity away from one diligent police officer.

In Dec. 2008, Sgt. Anthony Acosta intervened when he saw a group of rookie officers engaged in a fight with a cabbie outside the Vudu Lounge on First Avenue near 78th Street on the Upper East Side. The officers were off-duty attending a Christmas party, and possibly drunk; cab driver Levelle DeSean Ming honked his horn at the revelers as they crossed the street waywardly, and the rookies attacked him (one with a two-by-four). "If those cops had been civilians, they would have been arrested," said Acosta, who identified himself and tried to break up the fight.

Through a series of intimidating confrontations, a cover-up was allegedly formed to protect the ten rookies. A police captain on the scene was not questioned, and the report was filled with half-truths leaving out the context of the party beforehand. Cab driver Ming was arrested himself: "The judge was convinced Ming had been arrested in a police-car stop, and he wouldn't listen to the real story. Ming eventually paid a fine to resolve the arrest." Acosta says commanding officers wanted him to lie and say he hadn't identified himself, and offered him a plea deal, which he refused. Instead, he was given administrative charges and was chained to a desk without his gun or his shield until this summer.

He told the Voice, "I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how this happened. I did everything right. I feel like the lesson is, you know what, mind your business, stay in your house, don't get involved. I'm not one of those conspiracy people, but how the hell did I end up in this position?"