"NYPD Confidential" Offers Its Take on the Voice's "NYPD Tapes" Series
Leonard Levitt, the highly regarded police reporter who writes the internet column "NYPD Confidential," offers his own take on the Police Department's handling of the case of Adrian Schoolcraft, the police officer who tried to report corruption and paid for it with a six-day stint in a mental ward forced on him by the NYPD. Secret tape recordings made inside the 81st Precinct by Schoolcraft were the central material for the Village Voice's four-part series, "The NYPD Tapes."
Like the Voice, Levitt was able to review Schoolcraft's medical records. He concludes that there are a series of major questions about the justifications for the forced psychiatric stay. The Voice has reported that police gave the hospital inaccurate, possibly intentionally misleading information that led the hospital to admit him to the psychiatric wing against his will on Oct. 31, 2009. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.
The medical records, Levitt notes, say that Schoolcraft was "coherent" and "relevant," say "his memory and concentration is intact," and say he is "alert and oriented." It seems clear that the hospital simply accepted what the police told him about him, an account that if they had checked would have been revealed as wrong.
Levitt wonders: "So how does someone described by a doctor as coherent, alert, and with memory and concentration intact get thrown into a psych ward?"
A hospital spokesman, Ole Pederson, refused to answer that question. He told the Voice last week that "We have to take the word of whoever is coming in with him, and make a decision based on what they tell us. If there is an issue, the issue is with the Police Department or whoever brought an individual in."
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne and Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman Jason Post -- both of whom earn salaries paid for by taxpayers -- seem to have no interest in explaining to New Yorkers why Schoolcraft was dragged from his home and forced into the hospital.
"And yet everything Schoolcraft has said turns out to have been true," Levitt writes. "He secretly tape-recorded roll call meetings at the precinct where superiors discussed downgrading felonies to misdemeanors and refused to take complaints from victims. He even tape-recorded the police break-in at his apartment."
"Where is the outcry in the media about what happened to Schoolcraft?" Levitt writes. "Which politician has the guts to take on Kelly and Bloomberg and demand an outside investigation of the doctored crime stats?"
The Police Department has said that both its internal crime statistics auditors and the Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating the case. The question remains, to what end? Are these probes unbiased examinations of the issues that Schoolcraft raised, or a cynical attempt by the Kelly administration to discredit Schoolcraft, in effect killing the messenger.
We will have to wait and see. No outside agency -- not the district attorney's offices, the civilian complaint review board, the mayor's commission to combat police corruption, the city council, the state attorney general's office, neither state or city comptroller, the public advocate -- seems interested in following up on the revelations in the Schoolcraft tapes.