No Snitching, Policing for Profit “Good” Cops Under Attack

How can there be any good cops, when they’re labeled whistle blowers and forced to be silent. We should also be questioning local legislatures the Media’s code of silence.


It’s all a farce, the local legislatures policing for profit policies directing these corporate statute enforcers, need be held accountable with all law breakers.

#NYPDBlue12 SUING the NYPD over POLICE QUOTAS w Graham Weatherspoon

From the Press Release,, JUSTICE LEAGUE NYC STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH “NYPD BLUE 12” IN THEIR FIGHT AGAINST RACIALLY BIASED POLICING NEW YORK, NY: Justice League NYC and New York Police Department officer/whistle-blower featured in New York Times Magazine cover story, Edwin Raymond, and their attorneys will host a press conference this Tuesday, March 1st to discuss the instances of bias that led to the class action lawsuit by officers of color. The case brings in question the continued use of arrest and ticket quota directives used predominantly in communities of color. Justice League NYC is an initiative conceived to advocate for criminal justice reform and police accountability. These instances of profiling via quotas from New York, to Baltimore to Ferguson, Missouri, illuminate the need for immediate reform. Justice League NYC is taking a stance with the brave officers who recognized the practice of bias within the NYPD and had the fortitude and bravery to stand against it. These officers appear to be the victims of retaliation for their efforts.

Retaliation in Law Enforcement

“If you snitch, your career is done. Nobody’s going to work with you.”

“Good” Cops Under Attack

A growing number of “Good” Cops have been retaliated against and terminated, forced out of law enforcement, issued dishonorable discharges, after reporting police misconduct.

Breaking the Blue Wall: One Man’s War Against Police Corruption , by Justin Hopson 

During his first few days as a rookie New Jersey State Trooper, Justin Hopson witnessed an unlawful arrest and false report made by his training officer. When he refused to testify in support the illegal arrest, his life veered into a dangerous journey of hazing and harassment.

He uncovered evidence of a secret society within the State Police known as the “Lords of Discipline” whose mission it was to keep fellow troopers in line.

Trooper Hopson blew the whistle on the Lords of Discipline, which sparked the largest internal investigation in State Police history.

This book is a story of fear, courage, and integrity, showing how Justin Hopson persisted with his mission of exposing police corruption. Through many unexpected twists of fate, Hopson tells his story with a strong message that one committed individual can make a successful stand against social forces of fear and intimidation. ABC News, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star-Ledger, and other media outlets have interviewed Mr. Hopson about police corruption.


Justin Hopson born 1973 in New Jersey, is an award winning author, licensed private investigator, and retired New Jersey State Trooper. Justin holds a Master of Arts degree in management and has been certified as a New Jersey State Police Instructor and American Heart Association Healthcare Provider.

In 2009, Justin was appointed to the Charleston County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board and in 2010 became a member of the South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators.

In August 2012, he was appointed Co-Chair of the National Whistleblower Day Committee. In July 2013, Mr.Hopson was selected and appointed to the State Advisory Committee by Governor Nikki Haley. Justin Hopson has been interviewed by ABC News, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Star-Ledger, and 20/20 concerning police corruption.

Justin has successfully testified in federal, state, and municipal court proceedings. His “Test of Integrity” Presentation and award winning book have been featured at universities, business conferences, high schools, and churches. He reminds audiences that, “I was an ordinary cop with an extraordinary cause. My mission is tounearth corruption and shine a light on integrity because it seems like integrity these days has become the exception rather than the rule.”

Justin is married and has two daughters. His family resides in South Carolina.

Publisher: WestBow Press (December 28, 2011)

  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144970378X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449703783


Good NYPD Cops Reveal Their Department Have Arrest Quotas Target Blacks, Latinos Gays

Published on Apr 2, 2016

10 NYPD cops have taken a stand against arrest quotas. The cops have filed a law suit against the NYPD for discrimination and retaliation for reporting on the quotas.(Source:NBC 4 New York)

Retaliation Against “Good” Cops reporting “Bad” Cops is a Threat to Public Safety 

A Police Foundation survey of 3,235 officers in 30 police agencies (.pdf) found:

About a quarter of the sample told us that whistle blowing is not worth it, and more than two thirds reported that police officers were likely to be given a “cold shoulder” by fellow officers if they reported incidents of misconduct. Even when it came to reporting serious criminal violations, a surprising 6 in 10 report that police officers did not always report serious criminal violations involving abuse of authority by fellow officers.

Then there’s the testimony of officers at the Mollen Commission:

“The pervasiveness of the code of silence is itself alarming.” … One policeman who admits to corrupt and brutal practices, former NYPD officer Bernard Cawley, testified that he never feared another officer would turn him in because there was a “Blue Wall of Silence. Cops don’t tell on cops….[I]f a cop decided to tell on me, his career’s ruined….[H]e’s going to be labeled as a rat.”

Other officers who testified concurred with Cawley, including one who kept his identity hidden during the Mollen Commission hearings precisely because of the code, and who stated that officers first learn of the code in the Police Academy, with instructors telling them never to be a “rat.” He explained, “[S]ee, we’re all blue…we have to protect each other no matter what.”

The Christopher Commission found:

“When an officer finally gets fed up and comes forward to speak the truth, that will mark the end of his or her police career. The police profession will not tolerate it, and civilian authorities will close their eyes when the retaliatory machinery comes down on the officer.”

40 current and former officers filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that LAPD officials support the department’s “code of silence” by retaliating against those who report misconduct.

There are countless officers who can testify to the reality of retaliation for breaking the code of silence.

Officers like Adrian Schoolcraft who, after publicly exposing the illegal quotas required by the NYPD, was forcibly committed to a psychiatric institution after the cops lied to the doctors.

Or Donna Watts. You might have seen her in the viral dashcam video pulling over at gunpoint an off-duty cop who was flying down the interstate at 120+ mph. After that incident, she was relentlessly harassed by other officers until she finally quit.

Or Joe Crystal, who feared for his life after testifying against fellow officers.

Mark Benjamin filed a lawsuit alleging retaliation and death threats after he reported police misconduct.

Jed Blair was threatened and harassed by fellow officers after he reported gross criminality within his department.

Houston Police Officer Katherine Swilley was framed and investigated on a baseless criminal investigation, after filing a discrimination complaint against her department with EEOC.

After the DA’s office refused to accept charges for lack of facts to support the allegations. Swilley was fired on false untruthfulness charges, after she revoked her willingness to be bound by the terms in a “Last-Chance” Compromise Waiver Agreement that required her to drop any and all discrimination complaints she may have with EEOC.

Houston Police Officer Paulino Zavala was arrested for money laundering and placed on administrative leave, after reporting discrimination in HPD. The grand jury, however, refused to indict Zavala on these charges; in fact, the foreman advised the District Attorney’s office that the grand jury was convinced that HPD had attempted to Zavala. HPD nevertheless continued Zavala’s administrative leave for an additional eight months after the grand jury returned a “no bill,” ) Officer Zavala attorney stated that Zavala was retaliated against after reporting discrimination and “that all officers know that breaking the code is dangerous.

Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria went undercover and discovered that fellow cops were shaking down drug dealers and framing innocent people. After they reported it, high-ranking police officials labeled them “rats” and retaliated against them by putting them in do-nothing jobs.

Ronald Farabella filed a successful whistle-blower lawsuit, claiming his supervisors and city officials ignored his reports of police misconduct, and retaliated by demoting and suspending him.

Union Delegate Frank Palestro made three anonymous calls complaining of a supervisor’s misconduct and evidence tampering. The log of his calls appeared on his police station locker. A mousetrap with his name on it was found inside the stationhouse. He was transferred to another district for his own safety.

Houston Police Lt. Manuel Zamora filed a lawsuit against his department with nearly two dozen Hispanic officers alleging discrimination. His son, also an officer, claimed retaliation from Internal Affairs in a successful lawsuit.

A rape victim of officer Anthony Arevalos sued the city, alleging that the department’s culture encouraged his misconduct. District Judge Michael Anello noted that three former officers testified they believe there’s a code of silence within the department, including Arevalos: “He testified that he saw ‘captains get stopped for DUIs,’ only to be ‘driven home’ for fear of retaliation…. Based on the voluminous record of misconduct engaged in by Officer Arevalos, a reasonable jury could conclude that Arevalos acted toward Jane Doe in a manner in which he thought he was impervious to the consequences of his misconduct”



Crossing the Thin, Blue Line

February 5, 2015

The son of two NYPD cops, Joseph Crystal was put in charge of his police academy cadet class on day one.

“Being a cop was all I ever wanted to do,” Crystal said in an email interview with Photography is Not a Crime. “A dream come true.”

In November 2012, Detective Crystal found a dead rat placed under his car’s windshield wiper.

Three months earlier, Crystal came forward and told prosecutors he had observed a fellow officer brutally beating a man who had already been detained.

Crystal resigned from the Baltimore police force last August after two years of harassment from fellow officers and his own supervisors.

During an October 2011 arrest, officers chased a man suspected of carrying drugs and found him after he kicked in the back door of a woman’s house to hide. The woman called the police, and her boyfriend, an off-duty officer named Anthony Williams. After the police had already apprehended the suspect and put him in a van, the police drove the suspect back to the house when Williams arrived. The suspect was then dragged back into the house.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘What the hell?’” Crystal said. “I was baffled…I can hear the assault, I hear the banging. I hear the guy hit the floor. A couple minutes later, they bring the guy out, his shirt’s ripped, he’s having trouble standing. Later on, I found out his ankle was broken. It was obvious not just to any cop but to any person that saw it what had just transpired.”

When Crystal called his sergeant and explained what happened, the sergeant told Crystal, “If you snitch, your career is done. Nobody’s going to work with you.”

That sergeant was correct. Crystal met with prosecutors, and just days later a sergeant called him “a snitch” and left a hand-drawn picture of a rat and cheese on his desk.

The officers in Crystal’s unit refused to ride with him, calling him a rat and a snitch to his face. On the streets when Crystal called for backup, twice nobody showed up. On one occasion Crystal’s supervisor called his cellphone and “gave him a direct order to return back to the district and that he would not be given backup.”

Crystal was also demoted from chasing drug kingpins and gun traffickers and working with the FBI. Instead, his security clearance was revoked, he was put on a midnight-shift burglary detail, and he was eventually told to clean out his office without any instruction of where to go. The day after Thanksgiving 2012, Crystal and his wife returned home to find a dead rat on the windshield of his car.

Crystal testified anyway, and Williams was convicted of assault and obstruction of justice for the incident. He was sentenced only to 45 days in jail even after telling the court he’d do it all over again. Williams no longer works for the Baltimore police department. A year and a half later, in June 2014, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts finally created a team of four investigators from outside Baltimore to conduct an investigation into who put the dead rat on Crystal’s car.

The abuse of Crystal continued unabated, as someone created a fake Twitter account in Crystal’s name and tweeted to reporters that he cheated on his wife. To combat a potential lawsuit, BPD initiated an investigation of Crystal using a police car to drive his wife home, and tried to convice Crystal to sign an agreement promising not to sue or speak out against the BPD in exchange for dropping their investigation. Crystal refused and resigned from the Baltimore Police Department in September.

On Dec. 22, he filed suit against Batts, his former supervisor Sgt. Robert Amador, and the BPD for $2.5 million. Crystal’s lawsuit contains pages worth of additional accounts of BPD’s attempted cover-ups and harassment of Crystal for telling the truth.

The story of Joe Crystal is bigger than Crystal himself, or even the Baltimore Police Department.

The cover-up of crimes committed by police officers and banishment of officers with the integrity to stand up against criminal behavior has led to police departments across the country where every officer is viewed as a criminal or an accomplice. Crystal’s story is far from unique, and the weight of the multiple accounts of police cover-ups stacked together has created an atmosphere of extreme distrust of American law enforcement.

In Arkansas, a police officer was recently fired after reporting to his superiors that an “undercover” officer had sex with a prostitute and then arrested her. Don Paul Bales, formerly a sergeant for the Fort Smith Police Department, is now suing the department to get his job back after being fired for supposedly breaking eight department rules, including not being truthful, giving false testimony, revealing confidential information, releasing a confidential report and not respecting his superiors.

Bales had received an affidavit and a photo exposing his fellow officer’s conduct, and was fired after reporting the misconduct to his superiors and consulting with a lawyer to protect himself.

The undercover officer, who claimed that his actions were “necessary to gather the proof needed to convict the person for violating the prostitution statute,” was not disciplined.

In October of 2009, Adrian Schoolcraft of the NYPD was involuntarily committed to a hospital by fellow officers, who handcuffed him tightly to a bed for six days and prevented him from using a telephone. Schoolcraft had recorded conversations inside his precinct that highlighted the department’s commitment to making arrests, regardless of whether they were justified, in order to fill a quota.

In one recording, precinct commander Steven Mauriello ordered a raid on a public street, saying, “Everybody goes. I don’t care. You’re on 120 Chauncey and they’re popping champagne? Yoke ’em. Put them through the system. They got bandanas on, arrest them. Everybody goes tonight.

They’re underage? Fuck it. Bring ‘em in. Lodge them. You’re going to go back out and process it later on.”

This policy had led to a nine-fold increase in illegal police “stop-and-frisks,” hundreds of arrests without charges or on trivial charges, and an effective 8:30 curfew in neighborhoods being targeted. Days after Schoolcraft spoke about his concerns with NYPD investigators, twelve high-ranking officers gained access to Schoolcraft’s apartment by telling his landlord that he was suicidal and then involuntarily committed Schoolcraft to a psychiatric ward of Jamaica Hospital. Schoolcraft was suspended from the force and stopped receiving a paycheck.

Schoolcraft sued the NYPD in August 2010 for $50 million in a lawsuit that has yet to be decided.

 “Before I came forward I had never heard of any other officers coming forward to report crimes,” said Joe Crystal. “After I left the police department I had a group of police officers from Long Beach, California who contacted me to give support. They had been through something very similar in their department which the media there had called Lobstergate. Our stories had a lot of similarities. The thing that shocked me the most was Anthony Batts (Baltimore City Police Commissioner) was the Chief of Police there during that incident as well. This shocked me more than words can describe. The officers from Long Beach have been so supportive and I am so grateful they have reached out to me. When I was a kid my parents drove home what being a good cop meant and what the badge meant. My parents always said ‘Being a cop is not a right it’s a privilege.’ My mom always said as a cop I would face hard choices but to never compromise my integrity. I believe a large percentage of cops are great and do the right thing. I think if cops do not come forward it is because they are scared. There was recently a video posted in the media of a Baltimore City Police Officer beating a man at a bus stop in front of two other officers. The two officers did not stop the assault. In fact a female citizen had to get between the officer and the male citizen. The two officers did nothing but watch. I can not speak for the officers personally but I believe they were scared to act and scared of what would happen if they spoke up.”

In 1971, after testifying that fellow NYPD officers were involved in a wide-scale operation of shaking down drug dealers and pocketing millions of dollars, Frank Serpico was shot in the face during a drug bust in a Brooklyn apartment. His fellow officers provided him with no back-up and left him there to die. An elderly man in the building, not the other cops, called 911 to send an ambulance. The officers that left Serpico to die were later awarded medals for saving his life.

Forty years later, Serpico still gets hate mail from active and retired police officers. Last October, Serpico spoke out on police culture and the steps needed to make a change. The whole piece is worth a read, but a few selected excerpts are posted below.

Law enforcement agencies need to eliminate those who use and abuse the power of the law as they see fit. As I said to the Knapp Commission 43 years ago, we must create an atmosphere where the crooked cop fears the honest cop, and not the other way around. An honest cop should be able to speak out against unjust or illegal behavior by fellow officers without fear of ridicule or reprisals. Those that speak out should be rewarded and respected by their superiors, not punished.

Every time I speak out on topics of police corruption and brutality, there are inevitably critics who say that I am out of touch and that I am old enough to be the grandfather of many of the cops who are currently on the force. But I’ve kept up the struggle, working with lamp lighters to provide them with encouragement and guidance; serving as an expert witness to describe the tactics that police bureaucracies use to wear them down psychologically; testifying in support of independent boards; developing educational guidance to young minority citizens on how to respond to police officers; working with the American Civil Liberties Union to expose the abuses of stun-gun technology in prisons; and lecturing in more high schools, colleges and reform schools than I can remember. A little over a decade ago, when I was a presenter at the Top Cops Award event hosted by TV host John Walsh, several police officers came up to me, hugged me and then whispered in my ear, ‘I gotta talk to you.’

 The sum total of all that experience can be encapsulated in a few simple rules for the future: 

  1. Strengthen the selection process and psychological screening process for police recruits. Police departments are simply a microcosm of the greater society. If your screening standards encourage corrupt and forceful tendencies, you will end up with a larger concentration of these types of individuals;
  2. Provide ongoing, examples-based training and simulations.Not only telling but showing police officers how they are expected to behave and react is critical;
  3. Require community involvement from police officers so they know the districts and the individuals they are policing. This will encourage empathy and understanding;
  4. Enforce the laws against everyone, including police officers. When police officers do wrong, use those individuals as examples of what not to do – so that others know that this behavior will not be tolerated. And tell the police unions and detective endowment associations they need to keep their noses out of the justice system;
  5. Support the good guys. Honest cops who tell the truth and behave in exemplary fashion should be honored, promoted and held up as strong positive examples of what it means to be a cop;
  6. Last but not least, police cannot police themselves. Develop permanent, independent boards to review incidents of police corruption and brutality—and then fund them well and support them publicly. Only this can change a culture that has existed since the beginnings of the modern police department.

For the burgeoning police reform movement throughout the country, the first action needed is protection for good cops who blow the whistle, or light the lamp, as Frank Serpico describes it.

As Serpico once said, “A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We must create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around.”

After his recent experience, Joe Crystal expressed the same need for protection of the officers who want to do good.

“I believe police departments need solid leadership and leaders at the top that have the same integrity that they want their officers to have,” Crystal told PINAC. “I believe all police departments need to have policies for whistleblowers and their respective local government should consider making legislature for this as well. Officers need to know they will be protected and they need to know that the departments have true integrity.

Reform can only happen if the police departments are serious about supporting good cops and getting rid of cops that break the law.”

Change must start with people that want reform. For those that concur with the ideas in this article, now is the time to take action. Find and support the people in your community who want to clean up law enforcement and will back up their talk by running for mayor or city council.

Share this story with those unsure as to why people are protesting the police. And please use your words only to encourage peaceful discourse.

For those who support the police and view this story from the officers’ side, yes there are criminals that police must interact with on a daily basis. But to treat suspects as guilty until proven innocent is to look at the world as if every person is a scumbag who deserves to be treated as such. The job of police is to create a safer world, but viewing the general public as dangerous criminals creates an environment that is unsafe for everyone, police officers included. To the people out there who would chant, “We support the blue!” – support yourselves with self-respect, and kindly extend that same respect to everyone in the community.


Real War on Cops Continues, 2 Officers Attacked by Dept for Exposing Fellow Cops’ Corruption

By William N. Grigg on October 10, 2015

The free thought

When he saw two of their colleagues committing unprofessional, potentially criminal behavior, Dallas Police Officer Christopher Worden did precisely what the public expected him to do: He intervened to prevent the abuse, and then reported the misconduct to his supervisor,Sgt. Jason Scoggins, who filed the appropriate paperwork with the department.

According to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the officers, for “crossing the Blue Line”both of them were hit with spurious excessive force complaints that led to lengthy internal affairs investigations and unwarranted administrative punishment.

On April 25, 2014, Officer Worden responded to a call at a downtown Wal-Mart. Officer Nicholas Smith and his supervisor, Sgt. Fred Mears, were already on the scene. Upon his arrival Worden witnessed an argument between Smith and a juvenile suspect, who was handcuffed in the back of a squad car.

Sgt. Mears told Worden to unshackle the teenager. Worden did as instructed, then Officer Smith removed his badge and gun belt in an effort to provoke a fight. Rather than taking charge of his subordinate, Sgt. Mears actually encouraged him to escalate the situation in the apparent hope of punishing the mouthy teenager for “contempt of cop.” As the only practicing adult on the scene, Officer Worden moved to prevent what could have been a vicious episode of “street justice” by handcuffing the teen and putting him back in the cruiser. He then reported the incident to his superior, Sgt. Scoggins.

“They did exactly what every citizen of Dallas wants their police officers to do,” attorney Chris Livingston, who represents the whistleblowers, commented to the Dallas Morning News. “They said `This needs to be investigated because it’s wrong.’”

Mears and Smith each admitted their actions and were given administrative punishments. Within a few months, similar treatment was handed out to Scoggins and Worden as well – but in their case, it was done for the purpose of retaliation, not legitimate disciplinary action.

In September 2014, reported Dallas’s CBS affiliate, Scoggins and Worden responded to a “shots fired” report. Following a vehicular pursuit the officers cornered the suspect, who was still armed and refused commands to keep his hands raised. Instead of shooting and killing the suspect, the officers took him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Rather than being commended for apprehending an armed suspect without killing or injuring him, Scoggins and Worden were accused of excessive force. According to the lawsuit, Worden was placed on administrative leave and then given a punitive transfer to a less desirable assignment. In the case of Sergeant Scoggins, the Internal Affairs department recommended a demotion. The officers appealed the disciplinary recommendation to Chief David Brown, who overturned that finding and restored them to their previous duty assignments. The damage to the officers’ reputations on the force had already been done, however, and a message had been sent to other potential whistleblowers.

“Officers are being told, `You better not report it because, if you do, we’re going to punish you for it,’” comments Livingston.

Richard Todd, president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police, denies that the complaint was an act of retaliation by Sergeant Mears for reporting the incident in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Speaking on Mears’ behalf, Todd said that the officer “recognized that his behavior that day was wrong” while insisting that he “wouldn’t retaliate against the officers who reported it.”

However, according to the whistleblower suit, when Mears heard that Worden had been placed on administrative leave, he “celebrated … with a fist pump in front of at least two other sergeants.”

Assuming that allegation is true, Worden’s behavior says a great deal about what passes for his character. Something very different can be learned about Scoggins’ character from a commendation he recently received.

In August, Sergeant Scoggins (who also provides off-duty service as a private security guard for the Dallas Jesuit Prep School) was one of four officers awarded a Medal of Valor for their actions in apprehending an armed burglary suspect at an apartment complex called The Glass House. The memorandum nominating the officers for the commendation recounts that Sergeant Scoggins and Officer Derrick Evangelista “voluntarily placed themselves in the line of the suspect’s gunfire in order to protect potential innocent bystanders and to protect the lives of the officers inside the lobby.”

Unlike most police officers, Scoggins has actually faced potentially deadly situations in the field. Like a growing number of law enforcement whistleblowers, he can testify of the professional perils posed by the real “war on police” – the ever-escalating campaign within law enforcement to stifle and punish conscientious officers who are unwilling to countenance corruption and abuse behind the Blue Wall.


Breaking The Code of Silence – Former HPD Officer Katherine Swilley a Victim of Speaking Out


Houston Police Department

Houston Forward Times 10 September 2013 written by Jeffrey L. Boney

“You have the right to remain silent!”

This is the beginning phrase from the warning a criminal suspect usually hears when they are being read their Miranda rights from a member of law enforcement, and prior to them saying anything that could harm them in any way and lead to a self-incriminating result.

For many current and former Houston Police Department (HPD) officers, many believe that they have had to work in an environment where they have been the victim of a work environment built upon a foundation of retaliation and an unwritten “code of silence” that has proven problematic for them.


For the second time in one year, a federal jury has determined that the Houston Police Department (HPD) retaliated against one of their own.


After more than three weeks of testimony and jury deliberation, HPD Officer Christopher Zamora was awarded $150,000 for compensatory damages which include emotional distress and damage to his professional reputation and standing in the law enforcement community.

On December 2012, another federal jury also ruled in favor of Officer Zamora against HPD for the same allegations, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling necessitated a new trial.

Officer Zamora is the son of a retired HPD Lieutenant who, along with 23 other Hispanic police officers, filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination within HPD against Hispanics in the promotions process.

According to the jury ruling, Officer Chris Zamora, who was not involved in the original case, was subjected to a hostile work environment and labeled “UNTRUTHFUL” by the HPD Internal Affairs Division and HPD command staff. Meanwhile, during the five-year pendency of the federal lawsuit against HPD, Officer Chris Zamora received the 2008 South Patrol Officer of the Year Award within HPD and was also named Officer of the Year by “The 100 Club,” a popular non-profit organization that supports families of officers killed in the line of duty.

“I am proud that Officer Chris Zamora’s name has finally been cleared,” said Kim Ogg, Zamora’s attorney. “Chris Zamora was wrongfully branded a ‘liar’ when his father and he broke the “code of silence” by speaking out against must change and the ‘good old boy’ system of turning a blind eye to wrongdoing within must stop now.”


The Blue Code of Silence is an unwritten rule among police officers in the U.S. not to report on the errors, misconducts or crimes of one of their fellow officers. According to the unwritten code, if an officer is questioned about an incident of misconduct involving another officer, the officer being questioned will claim to be unaware of another officer’s wrongdoing.

The term “whistleblower” comes to mind, when being used to describe someone who breaks the unwritten blue code, similar to a referee blowing their whistle to indicate an illegal or foul play. Federal laws strongly prohibit officer misconduct, including officers who follow the blue code by neglecting to report any officer who is participating in corruption. If an officer is in violation of any of the officer misconduct federal laws, only the federal government can issue a suit. The police department is only responsible for preventing corruption among officers.

If an officer is convicted, they may be forced to pay high fines or be imprisoned. To be convicted, however, the plaintiffs must prove that the officer was following the blue code or was participating in negligent and unlawful conduct. It is often hard to convict an officer of following the blue code or other forms of corruption because officers are protected by defense of immunity, which is an exemption from penalties and burdens that the law generally places on regular citizens.

Many officers fail to challenge the blue code, because doing so could mean they are challenging long-standing traditions and feelings of brotherhood within the law enforcement family.

“They are blackballing good police officers to cover up discrimination,” said long-time community activist Johnny Mata. “Instead of addressing claims of discrimination by police officers fairly, HPD retaliates and we have noticed a pattern of Internal Affairs Division sham investigations ultimately used to compromise the complaining officers’ credibility.”

One of the other primary reasons that officers choose to follow the blue code and keep their mouths shut, is because they fear facing the consequences that come as a result of it; such as being shunned, losing friends, losing back-up, receiving threats, having one’s own misconduct exposed and more importantly, being terminated.

Being shunned, receiving threats and being terminated are attributes of breaking the blue code of silence that former HPD Officer Katherine Swilley knows all too well.


Katherine Swilley was a well-respected and dedicated HPD officer, who served the City of Houston for over 20+ years. Swilley received numerous “Outstanding” performance ratings and commendations from the public, her superiors and from two City of Houston Mayors. Her star was definitely on the rise.

Swilley was also an outstanding public citizen and public servant. Swilley started a nonprofit organization in 2000 called “Texas Cops & Kids”-Cops Giving Kids Quality Time…Not Jail Time. Using most of her own funds to support the program, Swilley started the juvenile delinquency prevention program based on the concerns she had with the lack of options that disadvantaged youth had in some of Houston’s poorest neighborhoods.

Swilley’s community service work led to City of Houston Mayor Bill White awarding her with the City of Houston’s prestigious Bravo Award in September 2005. Upon receipt of this prestigious award, she was both publicly and privately praised by her supervisors.

As a matter of fact, the City of Houston’s Bravo Award website still lists her accomplishment, as well as lists statements from her supervisors stating that “she is an incredible person with a true passion and mission in life.” In addition, the Mayor’s office extended a public “thank you” to Swilley “for being another example of what makes Houston Police Officers so special.”

After receiving the Bravo Award, Police Chief Harold Hurtt reassigned Swilley to the Public Affairs Division on special assignment in May 2006 to initiate his “Kids at Hope Program.” This is when Swilley says everything changed and went downhill for her at HPD.

In 2008, Swilley’s problems began when she reported what she believed was discrimination within the Houston Police Department’s Public Affairs Division, due to her supervisors’ lack of support for the inner city delinquency prevention program that served at risk youth. Swilley filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and she states that as soon as that happened, HPD opened up a criminal investigation on her for misappropriating funds with her non-profit; none of which was ever proven.

Swilley states that she was unlawfully retaliated against and terminated in March 2008, in direct connection to her filing an EEOC complaint, and after she revoked her willingness to be bound by a “Last-Chance” Compromise Waiver Agreement that required her to vacate and relinquish the rights guaranteed to her by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was unlawful retaliation.

Swilley states that officers who report police misconduct find themselves being investigated by HPD’s Internal Affairs Division on unsubstantiated allegations and bogus trumped-up charges of untruthfulness and/or insubordination, and required to take some sort of deal in order to save their jobs.

She states that these deals include taking mental fitness tests and/ or program for officers with discipline problems, forced medical retirements and/ or sign “Last Chance” compromise waiver agreements to accept a lesser discipline and drop any and all discrimination complaints they may have filed with EEOC. “I did nothing wrong, so there was no need for me to sign anything” says Swilley. “Officers who refuse to accept these deals are terminated and removed from their careers in law enforcement followed by erroneous dishonorable discharges based on bogus charges, ending their law enforcement careers.”

Swilley states that she never would have imagined in a million years being framed on a baseless criminal investigation, as well as being bullied and forced out of a police career that she loved and was committed to for over 20 years. According to HPD Internal Affairs documents received by the Houston Forward Times, Swilley is shown to have been terminated based on the initial charges of “UNTRUTHFULNESS,” which is the same thing that prompted the lawsuit from Officer Christopher Zamora. Other documents reveal irrefutable evidence that the ‘UNTRUTFULNESS” charges related to Swilley’s termination letter were proven untrue and that Swilley received an improper dishonorable discharge. There are affidavits and documents from HPD Internal Affairs investigators that clearly state that they have no evidence or proof that Swilley committed any crime or deserved to be terminated.


Swilley admits that she has been in fear for her life and simply wants HPD to do the right thing.

“For two years, I was under a protective order and ordered not to discuss my case, while atrocious lies were spread throughout the police department and the community about me,” says Swilley. “I have had my integrity and credibility attacked and I have even been threatened with dead animals on my yard and threatening phone calls.”

Swilley says that she has been subjected to the harassment of having officers show up at her home, claiming that they were responding to alarm calls or calls for help at her home. She says that suspicious vehicles have been parked in front of her home; dead animals have been found in her yard, including a dead opossum in front of her home with its throat cut; her computer has been hacked; and random vehicles have driven by and fired shots in front of her home.

She goes further to say that since she filed complaints, the threats have escalated, with someone ringing her doorbell in the middle of the night and someone writing the words “F@#$ Y@%” with the “F” shaped as a Swastika sign on the sidewalk in front of her home.


Houston  Police Department

Officers are forced to choose between their jobs and their civil rights

In many police departments female and minority officers are under attack, retaliated against and targeted for termination, after reporting discriminatory practices in their department.

The Houston Police Department has a long standing systematic pattern and practice of retaliating against female and minority officers who break the code of silence to report discrimination or sexual harassment. These officers are targeted for termination,  subjected to impromptu meetings with their supervisors, after filing EEOC complaints.

Although not supported by corroborating evidence they’re subjected to harassment with repeated Internal Affairs Investigations, followed by Loudermill (termination) Hearings based on unsubstantiated allegations, and trumped-up untruthfulness and/or insubordination charges. These allegations and charges are used as bargaining tools to intimidate and coerce officers forced under economic duress officers to take deals that, include some sort of discipline, to take mental fitness tests and/ or program for officers with discipline problems, and/ or sign “Last Chance” Compromise Waiver Agreements to accept a lesser discipline and drop any and all complaints they may have filed with EEOC in order to save their job.

The waiver agreements states officers will waive their rights to file lawsuits alleging a State or Federal cause of action, or in any other manner arising out of, or related to the IAD investigation.

Officers who agree to the terms of the “Last-Chance” Compromise Waiver Agreement to drop their discrimination complaints with EEOC were not terminated. While officers who refused to be bound by the terms in the “Last Change” Compromise Waivers Agreements are terminated and issued erroneous dishonorable discharges based on unsubstantiated discipline charges,  ending officers’ law enforcement careers, shattering the lives of countless officers and their families.

Officers who make claims of discrimination are viewed as potential liability to the city. Despite that the Houston Police Department records reveal over 300 officers’ who have been cited more than once with either or both untruthfulness and insubordination charges, local news reports, report that the department has 296 active duty officers who HPD determined as having committed criminal activity.


Houston Police Department

The Houston Police Department and its leaders have created a coercive and retaliatory culture,  a Gestapo type police environment, where female and minority officers and even minority commanders are forced to work in an oppressed environment, afraid to speak out about police misconduct, because those who speak out are retaliated against; as in the words of former Chief Sam Nucha to Officer Sharp, a sexual harassment case, Chief Nucha stated  “you will be subject to retaliation because it is your destiny; [for speaking up when improprieties are observed]”;or the opinion of 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith’s in Sharp v City of Houston, a sexual harassment case stated “During her (Sharp) participation in the Internal Affairs investigation she was subjected to retaliation by fellow officers for breaking the code of silence, a custom within HPD of punishing officers who complain of other officers misconduct or who truthfully corroborate allegations of misconduct. HPD has a policy, custom, or practice of enforcing the code of silence”; or as in the words of counsel Fred Keys , attorney for Plaintiff Officer Paulino Zavala, who was framed on a baseless criminal charge, after reporting discrimination, counsel Fred Keys , stated that all officers know that breaking the code is dangerous, “when an employee comes forward with a whistle-blower type thing, no matter what it may be, the department [commanders and up] use every official mean within its power to make that guy’s life miserable. As a result, officers are very reluctant to come forward. Everybody knows that if you buck the department, they’re going to get you.”;  or in the words Sam T. Alvarado, an arbitrator, who filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Complaint on behalf of 25 Hispanic officers. Mr. Alvarado stated that Spanish Speaking Officers did not raise any of the issues (discrimination)  in the complaint earlier for fear of retaliation;or in EEOC’s findings that Sergeant Pete’s supervisor, Assistant Chief Dorothy Edwards orchestrated his discharged due to her belief that he was unnecessarily raising racial tension, after Sergeant Wilbert Pete  reported discrimination; or in the words of a Houston City Council Member, who stated Swilley make the choice to be fire, if Swilley had listened to her attorney’s advice to drop her EEOC complaint, she would not have been fired. 

The Houston Police Department Internal Affairs has an ongoing pattern and practice of retaliating against officers who report discrimination, or sexual harassment and operate under a code of silence in which officers retaliate against fellow officers who complained, speak out against others officers, or filed complaints or lawsuits.  Since 1998 -2015, the City of Houston and the Houston Police Department has been held liable by EEOC and the Courts for retaliating against officers who reported discrimination and/ or sexual harassment. Between May 2005 and May 2010 approximately 100 officers reported discrimination, and or retaliation, including 31 sexual harassment complaints with HPD.

The latest case Zamora v City of Houston dated August 19, 2015, IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT, the Houston Police Department was once again been held liable in for retaliating against an Officer.  Officer Zamora presented evidence that his supervisors’ awareness of his protected activity was particularly likely to cause retaliatory animus. Zamora’s expert testified that the Department operated under a “code of silence” in which officers would retaliate against those who complained, spoke out against others, or filed complaints or lawsuits.

01/24/2006 – A group of Hispanic police officers has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and Chief Harold Hurtt, alleging racial discrimination.

The Houston Police Department’s “Chicano Squad,” a highly decorated homicide investigative team, has been subjected to ethnic slurs, disparate pay and heavier workloads than their counterparts for more than 20 years, a job discrimination complaint alleges.

Twenty-three unnamed former and current members of the squad filed the complaint Nov. 29 against the city of Houston alleging that high-ranking homicide officers frequently have used such slurs to create an “atmosphere of inferiority, isolation and intimidation.”

“The most important thing they want is equity so future Hispanic officers do not have to face what they’ve had to face,” said Sam T. Alvarado, an arbitrator who filed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. The Hispanic officers, who also belong to the Houston Police Organization of Spanish Speaking Officers, did not raise any of the issues earlier for fear of retaliation, Alvarado said.

The Chicano Squad, created 25 years ago to investigate crime in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, has recently been required to work extra hours to combat the city’s rise in violent crimes, Ferrell said. Squad members called in for additional duty were compensated either with overtime pay or time off, he said.

The Hispanic officers complain they rarely are allowed days off and are unable to prepare for promotional exams because of the heavy caseload. Non-Hispanic officers meanwhile are granted time off to study, Alvarado said. “The Chicano Squad has got a better average of closed cases than anybody,” he said. “National and State organizations have honored them, but not by the Houston Police Department.”



HPD reform is needed

New hires and body cameras are not the only solutions for the Houston police department.

Copyright 2015: Houston Chronicle Editorials Article, Updated 7:05 pm, Tuesday, August 18, 2015

If Houston is going to hire new police officers, then City Hall has to find a way for them to bring a new attitude to policing. (Eric Kayne/For the Chronicle) Photo: Eric Kayne, Freelance / Freelance

If Houston is going to hire new police officers, then City Hall has to find a way for them to bring a new attitude to policing. (Eric Kayne/For the Chronicle)   Photo: Eric Kayne, Freelance

Something amazing has happened across the country ever since smart phones put a camcorder in every pocket: There’s been a sudden drop in the number of reported UFO sightings and a spike in accounts of police brutality. It isn’t as if the aliens have grown camera-shy or law enforcement officers took a turn for the worst. Our nation’s self-imposed surveillance state has only revealed what’s been there the whole time: no ET, too many cruel cops.

These videos don’t tell us anything that people didn’t already know through dry numbers or reporting. Still, there is something about the visceral image of officers tasing, tackling or even killing unarmed citizens that elicits a gut response beyond the written word.

For good, hard-working police officers, this creates a new atmosphere of hostility. Law-abiding citizens may take an antagonistic attitude toward routine policing, viewing every cop through the frame of the most recent video.

That constant scrutiny can be tough, but it is well-earned. Law enforcement officers have all the power – the guns, the badge, the governmental monopoly on violence. Our courts have granted police a wide discretion to use physical force in situations where other citizens would face prosecution under the law.

Because of this power, people should demand perfection.

Houston isn’t immune to the problems of overpowered police. HPD has developed the reputation of a department where police brutality goes unpunished. In 2013, the Texas Observer ran an award-winning, two-part article titled “Crimes Unpunished,” which documents routine problems of officers failing to do their jobs while getting off after unnecessarily resorting to violence.

“Out of 706 complaints about excessive force, HPD disciplined only 15 officers. 

For 550 shootings, HPD disciplined none,” the Observer reported, documenting the statistics from 2007 through 2012. “The message is clear: Either Houston police almost never abuse their power, or they abuse it with impunity.”

These numbers should be troubling not only for civil rights advocates, but also for average Houston taxpayers who want to know that their police department is doing its job correctly. At their core, officers are supposed to serve as lookouts, life preservers and taxis: They either protect people around them, help people in need, or shuttle dangerous people into the criminal justice system. Now Houstonians are paying for inconsistent results.

In his campaign for mayor, state Rep. Sylvester Turner announced a plan Thursday to spend $85 million on 540 more police officers to fill the Houston Police Department‘s ranks (“Turner would expand police,” Page B1, Friday). This follows on Police ChiefCharles McClelland‘s request for $105 million to hire 1,200 new officers.

If Houston is going to hire new cops, then City Hall has to find a way for them to bring a new attitude to policing, as well.

Mayoral candidate Ben Hall, a former city attorney, has called for more body cameras to serve as a check on officers (“Hall plans permanent HPD body cameras,” Page B1, Aug. 12). Cameras are a right step, but they haven’t proven effective in preventing unnecessary violence from officers. After all, a dashboard camera didn’t stop a state trooper from threatening to shoot Sandra Bland with a Taser.

Technology can’t fix a broken soul. City Hall needs to impose upon any new recruits that their job first and foremost is to protect and serve the people, and allow the courts to dole out punishments. Houston will soon see a change in the mayor’s office, but a grander reform is needed.


More Trouble for Hopkins Suspended APD officer incurs new sanctions

Jermaine Hopkins

Jermaine Hopkins‘ arbitration hearing concerning his Oct. 2014 indefinite suspension (civil service parlance for “termination”) from the Austin Police Department is still a month away, but the exiled cop is already considering future sanctions. Last month, Hopkins received an email from Asst. Chief Brian Manley saying that APD was launching a new internal affairs investigation into his efforts to stand as witness in two separate criminal defense trials during the past three months.

According to Manley’s email, and confirmed by the accused, Hopkins was financially compensated $700 for time spent preparing for and testifying as an expert witness in Judge Nancy Hohengarten‘s county court during a March trial. Hopkins was also barred by Judge Brandy Mueller from serving as an expert witness in Caroline Callaway‘s DWI arrest trial last month (see “Woman Suing APD Beats DWI,” April 24). Manley’s email says Hop­kins’ actions are in violation of APD Policies 949 and 935. Policy 949 pertains to secondary employment and bars officers from engaging in “any type of secondary employment which may bring the Department into disrepute or impair the operation and/or efficiency of the Department.” (It also requires those seeking secondary employment to receive approval from APD’s Real Time Crime Center, one’s chain of command, and APD’s Special Events Unit.) Policy 935, which covers court appearances, dictates that employees will notify their supervisors of any subpoenas or agreements they’ve made to testify in court, and mandates that officers will not receive compensation for testimony as an expert witness without the approval of Chief Art Acevedo or a designee.

At this point it’s tough to fit Hopkins’ disciplinary backstory into a relatively concise paragraph (full story available via “House Arrest,” Dec. 19, 2014). In short, the Bay Area native and Army veteran-turned-APD cop responded so proactively to an eight-day suspension for his handling of the fallout from a May 2013 arrest – questioning the legality of each and every disciplinary decision levied upon him with vigor, rigidity, and thorough record-keeping – that he was eventually assigned to home duty (and told not to leave his house while on duty) for two stints of time totaling more than one calendar year.

He finally lost his job, last October, for a series of infractions including insubordination, unreasonable disruption, and acts bringing discredit upon the department – not surprisingly for attempting to testify as an expert witness at a criminal trial. Since then, he’s filed multiple charges of discrimination against the city of Austin for harm suffered since last June, and, among other actions, has formally requested that District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg remove herself from investigating any of his complaints because she identified Chief Ace­vedo as a “friend” when she was popped for a DWI in the spring of 2013. Last Monday, May 18, in the wake of this new IA investigation, Hop­kins filed his latest complaint of departmental retaliation with the Texas Workforce Com­mission’s Civil Rights & Discrimination division.

The news that he’s the subject of another internal affairs investigation – for his two latest efforts to serve as an expert witness – particularly concerns Hopkins, since he believes he’s no longer actually employed by the Austin Police Department. That designation ended on Oct. 31, 2014, when he received his notice of indefinite suspension, handed his badge in, and stopped receiving paychecks, he says. He explained to the Chronicle that eight months will have passed between his suspension and subsequent arbitration hearing, and that he has to make money to sustain himself. He added that he believes the department’s expectation that he read departmental emails is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets regulations with respect to minimum wage.

“This memo here says that I’ve engaged in work off-duty, but they’re actually imposing the work on me by sending me work to my personal email,” he said. “They want me to read these documents, and I’m not getting paid for that.”

Public information officers and department administrators from APD and the city’s Civil Service Commission were not able to explain the bureaucratic details, and a city attorney did not respond to requests for comment (nor did Asst. Chief Manley), but Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday told the Chronicle that the discrepancy boils down to the stipulation that those appealing indefinite suspensions are still subject to APD’s rules and standards of civil service. (He added that the APA supports Hopkins’ right to appeal.) In any event, it’s likely that any disciplinary action the department would try to levy upon Hopkins in the wake of the new IA investigation would only be considered if he wins his arbitration hearing in June. According to Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code, department heads are limited to the original written statement and charges on the officer’s disciplinary memo, which may not be amended. Any disciplinary actions must be part of another hearing.

Hopkins’ arbitration hearing is currently set to begin June 15. Examiner Tom Cipolla will preside over the hearing. Should Hopkins emerge victorious, it’s quite possible that he’ll face another round of discipline as soon as he’s reinstated.

Police Racism Case Set Precedent In Philadelphia

Posted August 14th, 2009 at 6:40PM

Hello All,
My name is Raymond Carnation. I  along with two other white Philadelphia Police Officer that opposed racism against African Americans in the Philadelphia Police Department was retaliated against and  fired 1999. This occurred under the command of William Colarulo now a Chief Inspector in the Philadelphia Police department. In May of 2008 we won our Precedential racism case and the jury awarded us $10 Million Dollars.

The case is Myrna Moore vs. The City Of Philadelphia NOS. 03-1465 and NOS. 03-1473. Feel free to Google the case and my name for a better understanding.

We are now experiencing extreme retaliation from this bias Federal Judge Mary A. McLaughlin, and still the City of Philadelphia after the verdict decision. This is now the second time we have been victimized by government agencies, the City of Philadelphia and now the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Court. They are trying to keep a  tight lid on the police racism problem in Philadelphia. I believe the media as well as the public should be aware of this problem and scandal in Philadelphia. We are seeking national attention on this matter and would like to see Oprah, Dateline, or 20/20  take a interest.

I hope you and your staff will  give us the opportunity and privilege to tell our story. Together we will be able to properly address police racism, the cover up, and the disturbing behavior of Federal Judge Mary A. McLaughlin. Below are article written on our case. Thank you so much for your time and concern. I hope to hear from you in the near future.
Warmest Regards,
Raymond Carnation
cell# (267) 231-8143


Jackson Mississippi Troopers

JACKSON — Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson says some black troopers have been fired and others reassigned in retaliation for filing a federal complaint against the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The NAACP filed a complaint on behalf of the state’s 200 black troopers earlier this year with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In July, the EEOC said it found evidence of discrimination and forwarded those findings to the U.S. Justice Department.

Johnson said Monday a retaliation complaint was filed last week with the EEOC.

“We have now reports of three officers who have been terminated. We have reports of officers being reassigned away from their home bases. Some officers have to drive three hours just to report in to work, and that results in an economic hardship,” Johnson said.

During a news conference in Jackson, Johnson declined to provide further details or to identify the officers.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Jon Kalahar had no immediate comment on the retaliation claims.

Johnson said the NAACP filed the complaint on behalf of the black troopers to protect the law officers from retaliation. After a months-long investigation, the EEOC said it determined that the patrol had discriminated against black troopers in regard to assignment, demotions, discharges, discipline, harassment and promotions.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the EEOC findings.

The Highway Patrol has 540 troopers; 208 of them are black.

Johnson said MDPS Commissioner Steve Simpson and Col. Michael Berthay, head of the Highway Patrol, began a “barrage of retaliatory acts” after the EEOC determined discrimination existed at the patrol. Johnson said vacant positions were filled without procedural announcements and unsubstantiated investigations were launched through the internal affairs division.

“The overall atmosphere and culture of the agency has become a very negative work environment,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he’s awaiting the action of the Justice Department, which could sue the state or could issue a right to sue letter to the NAACP.

The EEOC had asked the state to begin settlement talks with the troopers, but Simpson said he wanted more information about the federal agency’s findings.

Simpson said he had several concerns about the EEOC’s investigation and has asked the agency to reconsider its determination. He has said his agency wasn’t provided with names, positions or other relevant information about alleged discriminatory practices.

The Highway Patrol was forced to racially integrate after a lawsuit by black law enforcement officers in the 1970s, and the patrol remained under a federal consent decree until early this decade. The decree was designed to eliminate discriminatory practices in hiring, firing and promotions.

“Nearly 40 years ago, African Americans sued to have the right to be highway patrolmen and it is a shame that 40 years later they have to sue to be treated as equals,” Johnson said Monday.


Springfiled Police Department



Posted Sep 01, 2009 @ 11:30 PM

Last update Sep 02, 2009 @ 06:37 AM

Former police lieutenant Rickey Davis wasn’t picked to head the Springfield Police Department’s criminal investigations division in 2003 because new Police Chief Don Kliment wanted someone who wasn’t in the vision already, a city attorney said Tuesday.

Davis, who is black, claims in a lawsuit against the city that police officials retaliated against him because he spoke up about racial issues.

Assistant city attorney Frank Martinez said in opening statements in the lawsuit trial that evidence will show that Davis was transferred from criminal investigations to patrol in 2006 because of his performance, not because of his race or in retaliation for him speaking out.

“Homicide investigations were missing reports, and some files were just stuck up on shelves,” Martinez said. “That’s why he was transferred. There was no retaliatory conduct whatsoever.”

Donna Harper, Davis’ St. Louis attorney, said in her opening statement that police leadership “targeted him (Davis) because he was the spokesperson for equal opportunity and against racial discrimination in the department.”

Harper said Davis suffered humiliation and “career damage” because “the police department chose to ignore what he was saying and decided to go after him.”

She cited five internal affairs investigations started against Davis over the last five months he worked as a police officer.

Davis joined the force in 1981 and retired in January 2007 after having been on medical leave since March 6, 2006.

Harper said William Rouse, who was named to head the criminal investigations division in 2003, kept notes about Davis’ job performance, but didn’t do that for any other officer. She said evidence will show Davis was scrutinized unfairly.

Martinez said the internal affairs investigations concerning Davis found that he twice left crime scenes to get coffee, leaving other officers without senior supervision, and that Davis failed to complete an end-of-year report that Rouse had requested. He also was investigated because Sgt. Tim Young failed to complete in a timely fashion a report requested by Rouse while Davis was Young’s supervisor, she said.

Martinez said white officers, including Young and Rouse, also had been disciplined as a result of incidents in the criminal investigations division. Young and Rouse also are retired.

The jury must decide if it is more likely true than not that Davis suffered retaliation, a lesser burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard in a criminal case.

U.S. Judge Jeanne Scott, who is presiding over the trial, said it might take 2 1/2 weeks to conclude.

In a separate lawsuit last year, Davis was awarded $150,000 by a federal jury that decided he had suffered retaliation for speaking publicly about racial issues in the police department.

Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510.

Former police lieutenant Rickey Davis wasn’t picked to head the Springfield Police Department’s criminal investigations division in 2003 because new Police Chief Don Kliment wanted someone who wasn’t in the division already, a city attorney said Tuesday.

Davis, who is black, claims in a lawsuit against the city that police officials retaliated against him because he spoke up about racial issues.

Assistant city attorney Frank Martinez said in opening statements in the lawsuit trial that evidence will show that Davis was transferred from criminal investigations to patrol in 2006 because of his performance, not because of his race or in retaliation for him speaking out.

“Homicide investigations were missing reports, and some files were just stuck up on shelves,” Martinez said. “That’s why he was transferred. There was no retaliatory conduct whatsoever.”

Donna Harper, Davis’ St. Louis attorney, said in her opening statement that police leadership “targeted him (Davis) because he was the spokesperson for equal opportunity and against racial discrimination in the department.”

Harper said Davis suffered humiliation and “career damage” because “the police department chose to ignore what he was saying and decided to go after him.”

She cited five internal affairs investigations started against Davis over the last five months he worked as a police officer.

Davis joined the force in 1981 and retired in January 2007 after having been on medical leave since March 6, 2006.

Harper said William Rouse, who was named to head the criminal investigations division in 2003, kept notes about Davis’ job performance, but didn’t do that for any other officer. She said evidence will show Davis was scrutinized unfairly.

Martinez said the internal affairs investigations concerning Davis found that he twice left crime scenes to get coffee, leaving other officers without senior supervision, and that Davis failed to complete an end-of-year report that Rouse had requested. He also was investigated because Sgt. Tim Young failed to complete in a timely fashion a report requested by Rouse while Davis was Young’s supervisor, she said.

Martinez said white officers, including Young and Rouse, also had been disciplined as a result of incidents in the criminal investigations division. Young and Rouse also are retired.

The jury must decide if it is more likely true than not that Davis suffered retaliation, a lesser burden of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard in a criminal case.

U.S. Judge Jeanne Scott, who is presiding over the trial, said it might take 2 1/2 weeks to conclude.

In a separate lawsuit last year, Davis was awarded $150,000 by a federal jury that decided he had suffered retaliation for speaking publicly about racial issues in the police department.

Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510.


 Beaumont Police Officers claim retaliation  


BY JOHN ASBURYThe Press Enterprise


An attorney for the Beaumont Police Officers’ Association said Friday that it plans to proceed with a lawsuit against the city, claiming police Chief Frank Coe retaliated against officers who questioned his leadership.

The union and three Beaumont police officers, Scot Davis, Brian Ford and Jeremy Harris, filed a complaint last year claiming Coe refused to promote officers and left several positions vacant after the union questioned his leadership of the department.

The City Council voted in December to deny the claim.

An Upland law firm that specializes in police matters is representing the union.

It also represents Enoch Clark, a Beaumont police officer and former chairman of the police union, who was charged with four felonies. Clark is accused of using excessive force with pepper spray during a February traffic stop that left a woman blinded.

Union members and police say the complaint against the city and the grand jury indictment against Clark are unrelated. Clark is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.

An attorney for the union, former Riverside police Officer Chris Gaspard, said in an email Friday that he expects to proceed with a lawsuit “with a very strong likelihood of success.”

“I believe that it will be very clear to a jury that Chief Coe and Commander (Greg) Fagan have retaliated against these three officers for the exercise of their free speech and that Chief Coe has created and fostered an environment of retaliation within the department,” Gaspard said.

Coe said he could not respond to direct allegations from the police association’s claim. He said Clark’s indictment has not affected department operations.

“There are really not any significant issues,” Coe said Friday. “The recent events have not affected our operation as a whole.”

He said the department of 57 sworn officers is committed to its motto of “exceeding expectations” of the community.

“We’re small, but we’re a very close and tight-knit department,” Coe said. “When issues like this arise, we take whatever steps are necessary to address them.”

In April 2011, the association voted to conduct an evaluation of the police chief. During an association meeting, Davis and Ford spoke out against the Coe’s performance, according to the claim.

The union sent a letter to the city manager’s office, critiquing Coe’s job performance.

“Chief Coe was furious about the association’s letter and immediately initiated a campaign of retaliation and discrimination against the association and its members intended to silence their speech and punish them for their speech…,” the claim stated.

The association said the department had announced openings for sergeant positions in March, and that Davis and two other members applied. Union members accused the police chief of purposely leaving the positions vacant after his leadership was questioned.

Two police corporals were sent to leadership training instead of promoting anyone to sergeant, according to the claim.

The three officers who filed the claim were also disciplined for what they described as “minor allegations of misconduct.”

The pending lawsuit would seek withheld wages and damages from the city, Coe and the police department, the claim states.


Meriden police officer claims retaliation

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:03 pm | Updated: 10:43 am, Thu Feb 16, 2012.

Meriden police officer claims retaliation Dan Ivers Record-Journal |

MERIDEN – One of the officers alleging widespread favoritism and misconduct in the police department has notified the city that he plans to sue various members of the police department, Personnel Director Caroline Beitman and the police union over alleged harassment and retaliation against him.

In late March, officers Donald Huston and Brian Sullivan requested an investigation into allegations that certain officers, including Evan Cossette – the son of Police Chief Jeffry Cossette – were being inadequately disciplined for misconduct, including police brutality.

In the notice, filed by Attorney Frank P. Cannatelli of Wallingford on Huston’s behalf, Huston claims that members of the department have created a hostile atmosphere, lodged false Internal Affairs claims against him and asked officers to withhold evidence that would support his allegations.

“They have used the police Internal Affairs Division to hurt Huston and other officers who have cooperated with official investigations, and have created a corrupt Internal Affairs Division that acts based upon favoritism, and nepotism,” it reads.

The notice names Beitman, Jeffry and Evan Cossette, Deputy Chief Timothy Topulos, Capt. Michael Zakrzewski, former internal affairs officers Sgt. Leonard Caponigro and Lt. Glen Milslagle, police union President Det. Michael Siegler and chief union steward Det. John Williams.

Siegler, the union’s president, said Huston was “a very desperate person.”

“The investigation is coming to an end and he knows the outcome will not show what he claimed, therefore he’s grasping at straws,” Siegler said via email. “I hope the city doesn’t settle this.

They need to follow through and make him prove these false allegations. He’s done enough damage here, he needs to move on.”

The notice alleges various violations under the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, including obstruction of justice, tampering with witnesses and “retaliation for cooperating with authorities to correct illegal police conduct.”

Huston claims the police union instructed officers not to cooperate with investigations into incidents involving Pedro Temich and Robert Methvin, both of whom have filed federal lawsuits against Evan Cossette for allegedly beating them during arrests in 2010.

Numerous internal affairs complaints have been filed against Huston and Sullivan since their allegations became public last year, most of which have claimed they were untruthful or negligent in their duties as officers. Many of those complaints were filed after Williams, the union’s chief steward, sent an email to members urging them to combat Huston and Sullivan’s claims through internal affairs.

Williams also filed several grievances with the city claiming Huston and Sullivan were receiving preferential treatment in the wake of their allegations.

Associate City Attorney Jack Gorman said the city does not comment on pending litigation, but said he found it difficult to distinguish how the notice of intent to sue differed from the charges Huston made in his letter to the city last year.

“It makes a lot of broad general allegations. It’s hard to perceive what he’s alleging beyond things that he’s already raised his complaints with,” he said.

Cannatelli said Wednesday that he will file two more notices of pending suits against the city and the police department on behalf of two other officers over the next week, but would not identify the officers. He also said he plans to file a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities on behalf of all three officers.

Prior to the new notice, Huston had been represented by New Britain attorney Sally A. Roberts, who is still serving as his counsel in a defamation of character suit against Chief Cossette. Roberts is also representing Temich, Methvin and Joseph Bryans, another man alleging he was brutalized by Evan Cossette, in federal lawsuits against the city and department.

Huston and the other parties named in the notice either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.


 Telling the Truth Like Crazy


Published: March 8, 2012 

One summer day in 2009, a woman walked into the police station house of the 81st Precinct, in Brooklyn, to report that her car had been stolen. She was well into her second day of trying to file a report, having already spoken to five or more officers in two precincts and was waiting, exasperated, for a lieutenant to turn up as he had promised.

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Officer Adrian Schoolcraft has filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department, claiming the department had him taken forcibly to a psychiatric ward when he brought up a suspicion that serious crimes were underreported.

Then an officer named Adrian Schoolcraft emerged and heard her story. She wrote an account for him. He bundled it with a dozen other cases of crime victims who found themselves trapped in bureaucratic hamster wheels that seemed to have purposely been set up to make it hard to report serious crimes. It was a pattern, Officer Schoolcraft was convinced.

That October, he met with investigators and told them about the woman and her car, and others who were the victims of felonies but whose cases either disappeared from statistics or wound up classified as misdemeanors: a Chinese-food deliveryman who was beaten and robbed; a cabby held up at gunpoint; a man who was beaten and robbed of his wallet and cellphone, a case that the 81st Precinct classified as “lost property.”

Officer Schoolcraft’s career in the Police Department was about to take a turn for the worse.

On the evening of Oct. 31, 2009, Officer Schoolcraft, who had gone home sick from work, was forcibly taken from his home in Queens by senior police officials and delivered to a hospital psychiatric ward.

He had been telling the truth like crazy.

This week, the findings of an internal police investigation into his claims were reported in The Village Voice in an article by Graham Rayman, the latest installment in a series that has won awards for chronicling the case of Officer Schoolcraft and the corruption of police crime statistics. The investigation found “a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct.”

The 85-page report, never released by the Police Department, vindicated Officer Schoolcraft, who has been suspended without pay for more than two years. He has filed a lawsuit, charging that he faced retaliation for telling the truth.

Officer Schoolcraft recorded all the precinct roll calls for two years, and also recorded the raid on his home when he was brought to the psychiatric ward. One senior official confiscated his audio recorder during that encounter, but he had secreted a backup.

The question of crime statistics is a matter of great sensitivity in the Police Department and at City Hall, which regularly boasts of New York’s safety. But more than 100 retired police commanders told researchers that intense pressure for annual crime reductions had led some officials to manipulate statistics. The department set up a panel in January 2011 to investigate the claims and report in three to six months, but authorities have said nothing of it or its work since then.

The investigation of Officer Schoolcraft’s claims does not provide any camouflage for those involved in manipulating crime reports.

A portion of the document headed “Incident No. 10, Handwritten Letter From Complainant” gives a road map of the difficulties faced by ordinary citizens trying to make a report.

On July 30, 2009, a woman discovered that her car, parked a few blocks from her home, had been stolen. “She called 911 from her residence,” the report states, and the matter was assigned to the police in the precinct where she lived, the 79th.

“Officers from the 79 responded,” it continues. She told them where the vehicle had been parked. The officers informed her that she had to report the theft to the 81st Precinct. The next day, she went to the 81st Precinct, and was told that she had to go to the street where the car was stolen.

There, she was met by a lieutenant from the 81st, who told her to go back to the station house and that he would meet her there, according to the report. “While waiting for the lieutenant, she encountered Officer Schoolcraft and wrote the letter that she provided to case investigators.”

Finding out what happened to the Schoolcraft case was as daunting as trying to file a crime report. Using the state’s Freedom of Information Law, Mr. Rayman of The Village Voice sought the report, which was completed in June 2010. The police denied his request. He appealed. They denied it again. He finally obtained a copy through back channels and published an article this week.

It was, as he points out, not nuclear launch codes, but a factual recitation of everyday bureaucratic activities in a police station house.

The government does not have a Fifth Amendment right to silence.


Retaliation against black police denied City department asks EEOC for evidence it violated civil rights law

Names, documents sought U.S. agency had found officers charging bias were targeted in probe

December 29, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Gerard Shields contributed to this article.

An article in yesterday’s Marlyand section gave an incorrect first name for Walter Shook, Baltimore Community Relations supervisor of investigations.

The Sun regrets the error.

Baltimore police strongly denied yesterday retaliating against black officers who complained of racism, and they asked that a federal agency turn over evidence that proves entrenched bias in the department.


The chief legal counsel for the police, Gary May, sent a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week asking for names of witnesses and documents used to conclude that the department violated federal civil rights laws.

“It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to address the facts in this case when the report cited no facts and did not cite any documents,” May said yesterday. “We categorically deny having retaliated against any police officer.”

The letter, sent Wednesday and released yesterday, is the first formal response to the EEOC report that concluded officers who complained of racial bias were targeted for investigations and that blacks were disciplined more harshly than whites.

Former Sgt. Louis H. Hopson Jr., a black officer who was fired this year and was the catalyst for the EEOC complaint, said yesterday that the department “is still in the denial stage.”

Hopson, who said he was dismissed for exposing racial disparities, called May’s response typical of the agency. “It’s a Baltimore City Police Department ploy to question the integrity of anybody who looks at them,” he said. “That’s always been their problem.”

The Police Department’s letter will likely delay a meeting with the EEOC to discuss possible remedies. May said he needs the documents and witness names to draft a response to the EEOC’s charges, which could take two weeks. He said the EEOC has not answered his letter, and officials there could not be reached for comment.

Hopson said he would use the EEOC findings to seek a criminal federal rights investigation of the department and is considering filing a class action civil lawsuit on behalf of black officers.

Police officials believe they have made strides to end racial disparity on the force by revamping the disciplinary process, and they say they are eager to show their new system to federal investigators.

The department made the changes two years ago after the Baltimore Community Relations Commission concluded that discrimination existed in the way officers were disciplined. The 3,200-member department is 36 percent African-American.

Wayne Shook, the commission’s supervisor of investigations, said yesterday that Baltimore police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier has implemented all the recommendations. “It was worse before Frazier,” he said. “Frazier has definitely taken some steps to remedy the situation.”

But, Shook added: “I don’t think he understands the depths of the problems he’s dealing with. You can’t be neutral. You have to be more than neutral.”

The letter May sent gives a glimpse of the department’s defense. Much of it will center on Hopson, who was fired after a police trial board concluded he had made a false statement during a trial in Baltimore Circuit Court in 1994.

Hopson had testified as a character witness for an officer accused of a crime, and prosecutors questioned him about a 15-day suspension he had received in 1987 related to making false statements in a search warrant affidavit.

Guilty finding denied

On the witness stand, Hopson denied being found guilty of administrative charges of perjury. He said he accepted a 15-day sus- pension on an administrative misconduct charge related to giving false testimony.

After Hopson’s testimony, Assistant State’s Attorney Sharon H. May (who is not related to Gary May) wrote a letter Dec. 23, 1994, to police internal investigators asking for an inquiry. A month later, the state’s attorney’s office told the Police Department that it would drop all cases in which Hopson was the only witness.

An internal police investigation concluded that Hopson “was knowingly misrepresenting facts pertaining to previously sustained internal investigation complaints.” He was fired after a department hearing in February 1996.

Gary May said the department’s response to the EEOC “will rely very heavily on the fact that the complaint against Hopson arose from outside the Police Department. We didn’t solicit it. The complaining witness was a state’s attorney.”

‘Serious misconduct’

The department’s legal counsel said the city will defend any class action suit brought against it. “The people who are claiming retaliation are officers who were fired for very serious misconduct,” May said. “They are just hiding behind claims of retaliation.”

Pub Date: 12/29/98


NYPD whistleblower Palestro reports alleged corruption at 42nd Precinct – and he was union delegate

Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 10:06 PM
  • Officer Frank Palestro was a union delegate at the 42nd Precinct until last week.FLORESCU FOR NEWS

Officer Frank Palestro was a union delegate at the 42nd Precinct until last week.

The NYPD‘S latest whistleblower comes from a most unlikely place – the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

Officer Frank Palestro was a union delegate at the 42nd Precinct until last week, when he was outed as the tipster who secretly reported allegations of corruption by a lieutenant to Internal Affairs.

After a mousetrap with his name on it was found inside the South Bronxstationhouse, Palestro was transferred to another command for his safety.

“I was the PBA delegate, and now I’m labeled a rat for doing what I was supposed to do,” the nine-year veteran told the Daily News yesterday.

“This will stay with me for the rest of my career,” he said.

“There’s a handful of guys on the job who say they’ve got my back, but there are also people who won’t answer my calls. My reputation is shot, but I know I did the right thing.”

Palestro’s allegations targeted Lt. Susana Seda, the former midnight platoon commander, who declined comment.

He said she ordered cops to write summonses for traffic violations they did not witness, refused to take crime complaints and tampered with a gun at a crime scene.

“She ordered me to write a summons at the scene of a vehicle accident, and recently I had to testify in traffic court that I didn’t witness the red light violation,” he said.

Palestro, one of three elected union reps in the precinct, acknowledges it’s unheard of for a PBA official to drop a dime on a fellow officer.

Even as he faces being ostracized as a whistleblower, he says he had to report what he and other cops saw.

“I wrestled with it for a while because I’m a delegate and we don’t do things like this,” Palestro said.

“But these cops are young, and they came to me because they trusted me, and I felt I had no choice because it was about corruption and they didn’t know what to do.”

Palestro said Seda was driven by the pressures of the Compstat and Trafficstat strategies, which rate police performance based on statistics.

“The Four-Two Precinct is clearly in need of oversight,” said lawyer Eric Sanders of the Law Firm of Jeffrey Goldberg in Lake Success, who has met with Palestro.

Palestro made three anonymous calls to the IAB between September and December 2009 from his personal cell phone.

The phone number is on a confidential document – called a “log” – which somehow found its way to the precinct, stuffed in the vent of Palestro’s locker.

“[Seda] told everybody I was a ‘f—— rat,’” he said.

Police sources said the IAB is probing the allegations against Seda. No action has been taken, and the NYPD had no comment. The IAB also is investigating how Palestro was unmasked, and it went to the precinct after the mousetrap was found.

“I hope IAB finds out who did this,” he said, adding that he has not gotten flak from the union.


Serpico: I’d fire the NYPD officers who turned their backs on the mayor

In his first TV interview in years, the legendary whistleblower speaks out about today’s police controversies

Forty-two years after he left the New York City Police Department, Frank Serpico never thought he’d still be fighting for police reform.

In the 1960s, Serpico was behind one of the biggest scandals in NYPD history. After being wounded in the line of duty, he testified before a grand jury and exposed widespread corruption throughout the department. He says that when he spoke out about the officers selling drugs, guns, shields and favors, he was shut out by the police force.

“I still have a bullet in my head,” he said, “and I was lucky to come out with my life.”

In 1973, Serpico’s story was immortalized in the Oscar-nominated film that bears his name, with his role famously portrayed by Al Pacino. But these days, the 78-year-old stays out of the limelight. His interview with America Tonight was the first time he’s spoken on camera in years.

We caught up with Serpico in Upstate New York about the spat between the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the issue of excessive force in police departments across the country and why it’s so hard to hold officers accountable when they shoot unarmed civilians. The questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Looking at what’s happening, not just in New York, but in Ferguson and across the country, what compelled you to come and speak out now about what’s happening between the police and the public?

This is a national issue. In some places with little more than a high school equivalency diploma, you get a gun and a shield and you can take a man’s life like that and not even be accountable. Where are we going here?

You’ve talked a lot and written a lot about the culture within the police force, and how that culture extends to the same body that then investigates their actions. Can you describe that culture a little bit? 

Frank Serpico.

Frank Serpico.

It’s that you don’t talk about your own kind; you don’t expose your own kind or maybe we’ll expose you. So it’s like one hand washes the other. But that shouldn’t be the rule in an honorable, respectful profession.

At least in Ferguson, a lot of people have talked about a predominantly white police force policing a majority African-American community. Do you think that’s the problem? Do you think the way to a solution is to just diversify the police force?

The police should reflect the society they’re policing. The other thing is it’s a matter of credibility … I’m not saying put your life on the line. That’s not what you’re asked to do. But you’re also not asked to come home safe at the risk of an innocent life.

And we are not living in a vacuum. This is happening. It’s the same lie as [the] drone program. You drop a drone and you kill 28 innocent people. Do you expect to gain the respect and the hearts and minds of the people [when] you’re killing their children and their families? It’s the same thing with the police. We have to realize – lest we lose our moral fiber in this culture and elsewhere – that when any member of a family loses a loved one, they all grieve alike.

Why do you think that the police are incapable of policing themselves?

I only speak from my own experience, but why? Because they want to garner favor with their buddies and keep going up the ladder. You don’t make waves. You go along to get along. And when that mentality gets changed, that’s when things will start to improve.

The police should reflect the society they’re policing.

Frank Serpico

What do you think about the way the NYPD commissioner and the mayor have handled things so far with the Eric Garner case?

They’re making good gestures. Let’s see if they follow through.

But the police en masse turned their backs on the mayor. What do you think about that?

Hey, if I were the commissioner, I’d fire them. That’s setting a bad precedent, not only to the society, [but] to other police officers, and [it’s] disrespect[ful] to the men that gave their lives to that uniform … There are terrible hypocrisies within people that wear that uniform. It’s just that they have too much power and they don’t want to give up that power. There’s no compassion.

I’ve had officers write me back when I call them on things and they say, “Well, maybe you just run with the poodles, you know?” I said, “I’m not looking for fans. I didn’t start this looking for fans. I started this to look for justice.” And you have to have respect for another human being. You’re not the judge, the jury and the executioner; that’s not your job. But there’s this mentality.

Why do you think is it so difficult to hold police accountable when they shoot unarmed civilians?

Because the district attorney works with the police and it’s usually their job to convict anybody that they bring in. It’s usually not to find the police officer guilty of some infraction, so you might say there’s a bit of favoritism there.

Do you think you’ll see change in police forces in your lifetime? Or anytime soon?

In a way, I would never have thought that I’d be sitting here today 42 years later talking about pretty much the same subject. So don’t blame the people when they rise up and want change, because that’s what this society needs in order to survive.


▶ The Sobering Truth and Global Non Compliance

One thought on “No Snitching, Policing for Profit “Good” Cops Under Attack

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