It isn't just gangs who hate snitches, the NYPD can't stand them either. Today the Times digs into the "blue wall of silence" and while not exactly surprising, it certainly is depressing. Frank Serpico's warning that "you'll be the enemy," is still true more than 40 years later.
Though the NYPD has put more effort (and manpower) into Internal Affairs under the reign of Ray Kelly—and signs asking cops to call numbers like 1-800-Pride-PD and 212-CORRUPT are reportedly all over station houses around the city—evidence suggests that that individual NYPD employees are still ostracizing anyone who reports wrong-doing. Which helps explain why three former detectives and one current one are suing the the department over its anti-snitching culture. In today's story, the paper of record takes a look at two particular plaintiffs who went to Internal Affairs in the past decade—neither with good results. For example?
One plaintiff is James E. Griffin, a former detective with the 83rd Precinct, who called Internal Affairs in 2005 about a fellow officer who he believed was trying to frame him in an internal inquiry into a homicide case that his squad had mishandled. Within a month, Mr. Griffin said, he found the word “rat” scrawled on his locker. Another detective called him a coward and threatened to write that Mr. Griffin was a rat on every chalkboard in the building, the lawsuit claims. He was told not to come to his detective squad’s Christmas party, and his money for it was refunded.
In the squad room, colleagues switched desks to sit farther from him. Many stopped making eye contact with him, he said in an interview. Nobody would work with him, which affected his cases, because detectives are required to be accompanied by a partner on investigations.
Before he called Internal Affairs, Mr. Griffin said, his career was flourishing. He was a first-grade detective, the highest distinction an investigator can receive in the Police Department. His station house was less than two blocks from his childhood home in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he had first dreamed of becoming a police officer. By the end, he said, he felt as though he had been “banished to an island all by myself.”
And things didn't get better for Griffin after he transferred, either. Instead he found that his peers had called ahead and each place he landed he was labeled a rat. He soon retired, despite insisting he is not a rat.
As Sergeant Robert Borrelli, who has also reported bad practices in the police but is not suing, puts it: "It’s disheartening. I always felt like I tried to do the right thing, you know what I mean? They basically want to make an example out of you to stop people from coming forward, and that’s what bothers me the most." Over on cop messageboard NYPD Rant, they're just getting warmed up on this topic, but one commenter sums it up thus: "The motto over the door of IAB should be, 'The Road To Hell is Paved With Good Intentions.' "