A New York City police officer, claiming he was locked in a psychiatric ward after documenting “rampant” corruption in the department, sued the city, police officials and a Queens, New York, hospital for $50 million.
The plaintiff, Adrian Schoolcraft, is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran who received multiple commendations as an eight-year member of the NYPD, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court. The suit claims police officials tried to “intimidate” him and “retaliate” after he revealed an “illegal” policy requiring officers to boost arrests, falsify reports and suborn perjury to manipulate crime statistics.
Schoolcraft’s suit alleges he was taken from his home in Glendale, Queens, on Oct. 31 -- and confined against his will in Jamaica Hospital Center’s psychiatric ward for six days to “discredit his allegations.”
Police “unlawfully entered plaintiff’s home, had him forcibly removed in handcuffs, seized his personal effects, including evidence he had gathered documenting NYPD corruption,” before taking him to the facility, Schoolcraft said in the complaint.
Schoolcraft’s allegations of misconduct first came to light in February, when the New York Daily News reported that the 81st Precinct in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, where he was based, was under investigation for manipulating statistics in an effort to drive down reported crime rates.
The Village Voice, a weekly New York newspaper, published a series of articles in May detailing what said were recordings Schoolcraft made of precinct roll calls and meetings with supervisors and internal investigation units from July 2008 to September 2009. Some of the recordings were posted on the paper’s website.
Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, and Natifia Gaines, a spokeswoman for Jamaica Hospital’s owner, Medisys Health Network Center, declined to comment. Connie Pankratz, spokeswoman for New York City’s Law Department, said the city hasn’t received the lawsuit yet and declined to comment.
Schoolcraft, who has been suspended without pay since his alleged hospitalization in October, now lives in upstate New York, his lawyer, Jon Norinsberg, said in a telephone interview.
‘Campaign of Retaliation’
His father, Larry, sought advice on how to handle the department’s “campaign of retaliation and intimidation” from David Durk, who helped former NYPD detective Frank Serpico expose police corruption in the 1970s, the lawsuit says.
Durk contacted the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau in August 2009 to report alleged corruption in the 81st Precinct, where Serpico began his career. Serpico’s efforts to combat corruption in the NYPD were chronicled in the 1973 film “Serpico,” starring Al Pacino. Adrian Schoolcraft contacted internal affairs two days after Durk, according to the lawsuit.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
The case is Schoolcraft v. The City of New York, 10-06005, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).