The New York City Police Department (NYPD) prides itself on serving the public with courtesy, professionalism and respect, but according to a recent United States District Court complaint filed within the Southern District, a former officer claims high-ranking department officials performed their duties to the contrary and made his life a living hell.
Adrian Schoolcraft is a United States Navy veteran who received the “National Defense Service Medal”, the “First Good Conduct Medal” and a host of other awards. As a member of the NYPD, he was awarded the “Meritorious Police Duty Medal” and later recognized for his “dedication to the New York City Police Department and to the City of New York.”
The groundbreaking complaint alleges that a “coordinated and concentrated effort by high-ranking officials” within the department was launched in effort to silence, intimidate, threaten and retaliate against Schoolcraft for documenting and disclosing patterns of corruption with the NYPD.
“The NYPD had established an illegal quota policy for the issuance of summonses and arrest. Several of my superiors were falsifying documents and instructing police officers to suborn perjury on police reports in order to distort COMPSTAT statistics,” stated Schoolcraft.
The complaint also cites numerous illegal tactics conducted by NYPD officials against Schoolcraft to prevent disclosure of illegal and unconstitutional procedures, which would have revealed widespread corruption and on-going cover-ups within the police department.
“Nearly a year ago, specialized NYPD units, including several of my superiors, unlawfully entered my home in Glendale, New York. They physically abused me, had me forcibly removed in handcuffs and seized my personal effects; including evidence I had documenting NYPD corruption. What they did was a clear violation of my Fourth Amendment rights regarding illegal search and seizure,” said Schoolcraft.
The landmark lawsuit also revealed that shortly after the raid, NYPD officials had Schoolcraft admitted to Jamaica Hospital Center (JHC), which he claims was done against his will, and provided false and perjurious information to medical personnel that classified him as “emotionally disturbed”.
Schoolcraft contends that officers conspired with several Jamaica Hospital Center staff members, including two mental health experts from the facility’s psychiatric department, to have him involuntarily committed to the JHC psychiatric ward for six days.
According to the court document, one of the doctors declared Schoolcraft mentally sound, but failed to take any action when Schoolcraft was admitted to the psychiatric ward. Inexplicably, another doctor sanctioned the officer’s confinement to the ward without ever conducting a mental evaluation of Schoolcraft.
The officer was handcuffed to a gurney and left in the hallway, half-naked, and forced to remain there for nearly a week. He was denied access to a phone and given next to nothing to eat.
“I had a mountain of evidence against them, and they were worried about all of it becoming public. They were determined to shut me up or make me look crazy. They were willing to do whatever it took to ruin my reputation and discredit the allegations. Their sole purpose was and still is to prevent me from disclosing evidence of widespread corruption within the NYPD,” Schoolcraft stated.
“Ultimately, I was terminated by the NYPD. I lost my position, salary, benefits and pension for speaking out against what I knew was wrong on a number of levels. Honor and integrity are everything to me. They were codes I lived by in the military, and they were codes I adhered to as a police officer. In the end, my reputation was irreparably and permanently damaged by rogue members of the NYPD,” he continued.
According to the complaint, the former officer’s battle with NYPD officials and fellow cops eventually took a dramatic turn for the worst.
Schoolcraft alleges that his termination and continued harassment by the department forced him to relocate to upstate New York, some 350 miles outside of the New York City area. However, from December 2009 until present day, armed NYPD officials have remained relentless in their effort to silence, harass or harm him or his father, who also served honorably as a member of the NYPD, by repeatedly appearing at his upstate home.
“This is a blatant abuse of power by the New York City Police Department. You have armed NYPD officials and officers traveling outside of their jurisdiction, during working hours and on taxpayer dollars, to intimidate, threaten and possibly harm someone that was awarded for being an outstanding member of their rank and file,” said Jon Norinsberg, Schoolcraft’s attorney and co-counsel with Cohen and Fitch, LLC.
Schoolcraft and his attorneys claim that NYPD detectives and other officials continue to show up on many occasions and acknowledge they’re New York City police officers.
“Each time, they bang on my front door, or peer through my window, demanding to be let in. I’m not letting them in because I fear for my safety. There are a number people here that have witnessed these incidents, and I have irrefutable evidence that they’ve been here on more than one occasion,” said Schoolcraft.
The lawsuit further alleges that the NYPD has been instrumental in preventing Schoolcraft from being able to receive any form of financial or medical assistance that he is entitled to as a veteran.
“My client’s Fourth Amendment and civil rights have been violated on a number of levels and in the most egregious ways, and we intend to see that justice is done,” Norinsberg proclaimed. Schoolcraft’s attorneys are seeking $50 million in damages in the case.
Several calls were placed to Jamaica Hospital Center in effort to obtain comments from hospital directors and the doctors named in the lawsuit. Michael Hinck, Director of Public Affairs, stated that Jamaica Hospital Center and those named in the lawsuit would not comment because the matter is in litigation. Hinck indicated that comments would be provided immediately if the policy changes.
Calls, as well as emails, were placed to the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information to get their side of the story. A spokesperson stated that no comment was forthcoming and they had no idea if or when one would be submitted.
Schoolcraft, Norinsberg and Cohen and Fitch, LLC have set up a website urging other concerned and embattled New York City police officers to come forward and share stories regarding abuse of power, illegal quotas and systemic corruption within various precincts. Officers can submit stories at http://www.schoolcraftjustice.com.
For those interested in reading about Schoolcraft’s ordeal in full and uncensored detail, “From The G-Man” has posted the United States District Court complaint below this blog entry.
Photo courtesy of Cohen and Fitch, LLC.