NYPD’S BAD APPLES

The former Chief of NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, Charles Campisi, tells all in his new book, “Blue On Blue.”

Aired on November 14, 2017.

TRANSCRIPT

> WHO'S IN CHARGE OF POLICING THE POLICE.

WHEN IT COMES TO THE NYPD, THE LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY.

THAT JOB FALLS TO THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS BUREAU.

THE IAB IS NOW THE SUBJECT OF A NEW BOOK WRITTEN BY THE MAN WHO RAN THE UNIT FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES, BLUE ON BLUE, AN INSIDER'S STORY OF GOOD COPS CATCHING BAD COPS.

THE BOOK READS LIKE A HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT, WIRETAPS, LATE NIGHT STINGS AND INTERAGENCY TURF BATTLES.

IT GIVES US NEW PERSPECTIVE ON SOME OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS CASES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT IN THE HISTORY.

JOININGING US NOW IS CHARLES.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

YOU WATCH MOVIES, TV SHOWS.

THE USUAL LOOK OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS THE RAT SQUAD.

YOU KNOW, FULL OF COWARDLY COPS OR FANATICS.

I GUESS YOU DON'T AGREE WITH THAT PORTRAYAL?

CERTAINLY NOT.

THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I WROTE THE BOOK, TO SET THE STORY STRAIGHT ON WHO REALLY IS IN INTERNAL AFFAIRS?

WHO IS?

IN THE NYPD, CAN YOU NOT VOLUNTEER TO GO INTO THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS.

YOU ARE SELECTED BECAUSE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE BECAUSE OF YOUR PREVIOUS WORK, AND YOUR REPUTATION WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT.

AND SO YOU WERE SELECTED?

YES, I WAS.

YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO TAKE IT.

WHY DID YOU TAKE IT?

YOU HAD TO TAKE IT, ONCE YOU ARE SELECTED YOU'RE REQUIRED TO FULFILL YOUR OBLIGATIONS.

YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ONLY GOING TO BE THERE A COUPLE YEARS?

MY BELIEF AND HOPE, IT DIDN'T WORK THAT WELL.

YOU WRITE ABOUT THE SO-CALLED BLUE WALL OF SILENCE.

THE UNWRITTEN RULE.

DOES IT REALLY EXIST, AND IF IT DOES, WHY DOES IT EXIST, WHY WOULD GOOD COPS NOT WANT TOER IF ET OUT BAD COPS THAT GIVE GOOD COPS A BAD NAME.

THE BLUE WALL OF SILENCE DOES EXIST.

PEOPLE THINK IT'S JUST WITHIN POLICING, IT'S MORE OF AN OCCUPATIONAL WALL OF SILENCE.

WE SEE IT IN ALL PROFESSIONS.

IN THE LAWYERS, THE JUDGES THE LEGISLATORS, THERE IS AN OCCUPATIONAL WALL OF SILENCE IN MOST ORGANIZATIONS.

PEOPLE WHO WORK TOGETHER, PEOPLE WHO RELY ON EACH OTHER, ESPECIALLY IN POLICING, WHERE THERE'S DANGER INVOLVED.

YOU START TO SEE SOME CAMARADERIE FORMING.

WAS THAT THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU HAD?

IN A LOT OF CASES IT WAS.

IN THE MORE SERIOUS CASES, YOU SAW THAT THE BLUE WALL OF SILENCE ISN'T AS FORMIDABLE AS PEOPLE THINK.

IN SOME OF OUR DIFFICULT CASES, IT WAS THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NYPD THAT CAME FORWARD.

WE'LL GET TO THAT.

IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT MAKES A GOOD COP GOO BAD.

THERE'S A COUPLE THINGS.

THEY CALL IT THE SLIPPERY SLOPE, WHERE AN OFFICER MAY DO SOMETHING WRONG THE FIRST TIME, GET AWAY WITH, AND THEN THINK THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO DO IT.

SOMETIMES IT'S JUST PURE GREED, PEOPLE HAVE SEEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROFIT PERSONALLY FROM A SITUATION, AND THEY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

NOT EVERYONE IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE SLIPPERY SLOPE.

IS THE SCREENING PROCESS BECOMING BETTER AND BETTER?

YES, IT'S DIFFICULT TO BECOME A NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER.

YOU GO THROUGH A VARIETY OF SCREENING PROCESSES, I WANT TO MAKE ONE POINT VERY CLEAR, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NYPD, HARDWORKING, HONEST DEDICATED PEOPLE.

YOU WRITE EXTENSIVELY ABOUT THE INFAMOUS ABNER LOUIMA CASE, A POLICEMAN DID THE RIGHT THING, THEY SODOMIZED THIS MAN WITH A BROOM HANDLE.

DID THAT INVESTIGATION CHANGE THE WAY THE DEPARTMENT DID THINGS?

YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER, THAT WAS SUCH A HORRIBLE INCIDENT.

MANY PEOPLE IN THE BEGINNING DIDN'T WANT TO BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING THAT HORRENDOUS COULD HAPPEN.

THAT ONE HUMAN BEING WOULD DO THAT TO ANOTHER, AND THAT A POLICE OFFICER WOULD DO THAT TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

HAVE THINGS CHANGED SINCE THEN?

ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID, WE SET UP A HOTLINE WHERE OFFICERS CAN REPORT, AND WE HAVE IT SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES.

EACH YEAR WE GOT MORE AND MORE CALLS FROM POLICE OFFICERS WHO GAVE US GOOD INFORMATION.

TALK ABOUT THE CASE WHERE THE MAN WAS SHOT 41 TIMES, HE WAS UNARMED.

TAKING OUT HIS WALLET.

THESE COPS WERE NOT CORRUPT.

NO, THEY WERE NOT.

WHAT HAPPENED THERE?

IT'S A SERIES OF ERRORS THAT OCCUR.

THE OFFICERS SEE A MAN WHO THEY BELIEVE FIT A DESCRIPTION OF SOMEONE THEY WERE LOOKING FOR FOR A SERIES OF SEXUAL ASSAULTS.

HE RUNS INTO HIS VESTIBULE, THE OFFICERS TRY TO CONFRONT HIM.

ONE OF THE OFFICERS BELIEVED HE HAD A GUN.

HE YELLED GUN, AS HE'S COMING DOWN THE STAIRS, HE FIRES A SHOT, HE STARTS TO TRIP.

HIS OTHER OFFICERS BELIEVE HE'S FIRED UPON AND STARTS TO SHOOT.

ALL OF THESE COPS ARE OUT OF THE FORCE EXCEPT ONE?

THAT'S CORRECT.

SHOULD THEY HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE FORCE?

THEY WERE NOT RUPT, THEY MADE MISTAKES.

IS IT GOOD FOR THE DEPARTMENT WHEN PEOPLE WHO MAKE THAT KIND OF MISTAKE ARE OFF THE FORCE?

WELL, THEY CAN'T GO BACK TO PATROL AND DO NORMAL POLICE DUTIES MANY IT WENT BEFORE A TRIAL.

THREE OF THE FOUR LEFT THE DEPARTMENT, ONE IS STAYING, BUT HE'S NOT DOING NORMAL PATROL WORK.

IT'S GOOD FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO FIND OTHER JOBS FOR THEM.

YOU'VE BEEN GONE OVER THREE YEARS, DO YOU MISS IT, AND IS THE BUREAU DOING OKAY?

YES, I DO MISS IT, IT WAS A PART OF MY LIFE FOR 41 YEARS.

AND THEY'RE DOING WELL, THEY'RE DOING WELL.

CHARLES, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THE BOOK IS BLUE ON BLUE, INSIDER STORY OF GOOD COPS.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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