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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Frank...

Happy Birthday, Frank Serpico, NYPD Whistle-Blower
FindingDulcinea.com by Anita Gutierrez-Folch - April 14, 2009

Former New York City police officer Frank Serpico is the archetype of the “honest cop.” In 1971, he testified about the rampant corruption in the NYPD to the Knapp Commission. Regarded as a hero by some and a “rat” by others, Frank Serpico became a living example of the sacrifices made by those who hold to the ideals of justice and truth. Frank Serpico was born on April 14, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrants from the Italian province of Naples. When Serpico turned 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for two years in Korea. Upon his return, he enrolled as a student in Brooklyn College and worked as a youth counselor and a part-time private investigator. At age 23, Serpico joined the New York City Police Department, where he worked as a police officer for 12 years. During his time with the NYPD, Frank struggled to avoid the extensive web of bribery and corruption that pervaded the department. For 10 years, Frank filed numerous complaints about the behavior of his colleagues, but the majority of his efforts went unheeded, until he spoke to The New York Times about the problem.

The New York Times listened to Serpico, publishing a series of exposes about police corruption that led Mayor John Lindsay to appoint a commission to examine the allegations. Frank Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission in October 1971, becoming the first police officer in the United States to voluntarily give evidence against a fellow policeman. As he had foreseen, his testimony not only earned him national headlines, but also made him an enemy—a “rat”—in the eyes of his colleagues. Not content with expressing their passive dislike, Frank Serpico’s fellow officers chose to make an example of him. During a drug raid in Brooklyn that same year, Serpico was shot in the face when his backup team failed to come to his assistance. He survived, but lost all hearing in his left ear. The indifference of the police force during this incident was intended to punish the whistle-blower. Serpico, however, appears not to have regretted his decision to testify. Years later, he proudly declared: “I locked up criminals who wore badges. If that makes me a rat, so be it, but you have to wonder about the values of police chiefs who think cops are above the law."

However, it was clear that remaining on the force was untenable; Frank Serpico resigned from the NYPD on June 15, 1972. Before departing, he was awarded a Medal of Honor for his bravery. Serpico moved to Europe, where he married. He returned to the United States in the 1980s and settled in upstate New York. Peter Maas adapted Serpico’s story into a bestselling book; the 1973 blockbuster film version starred Al Pacino in the title role. The character of Frank Serpico, the courageous whistle-blower, earned the 40th heroic spot in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains in film. On June 7, 2005, Frank Serpico was invited as an honored guest to the opening of the exhibit titled “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” a collaborative project of Community Works, The Harlem Arts Alliance, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Columbia University. The exhibit—featuring Frank Serpico’s portrait along with those of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes and Malcolm X, among others—was a tribute to the many distinguished and outspoken Americans who strove to uphold the ideals of truth and justice even in the face of adversity.

11 comments:

retired city cop said...

Boy oh boy. I'd like to hear what Serpico has to say about New York's lousy, and corrupt, court system...

Anonymous said...

Serpico should take over the Manhattan and White Plains DA offices. I bet he could make a few healthy changes...

Anonymous said...

Frank Serpico was and is an idiot that was led by the nose by a detective named David Durk.

Durk got Serpico to talk and passed it on to NY Times reporter Burnham. The rest is history.

Serpico was only a bit player in this case.

Both of those fools did go to the Manhattan DA office with a BIG CASE. Durk's friend, a local bookstore owner was getting robbed by junkies of his books so they could sell it to the porn joints on 42nd street. Not that the porn shops wanted them because all they wanted was to buy the books to get rid of the drug addicts. The books were thrown in the garbage.

After we made some BS arrests, Durk came to the office trying to get my boss to write a letter to his boss to given him credit for this great police work. David, I said, you are welcome to it, I will even write a letter to your boss if you want me to.

Durk was in DOI at the time and he wanted to investigate this case from that office. He had a conflict of interest and his boss pawned it off on the Manhattan DA just to get rid of this pain in the ass.

With all the big cases coming into the office, I had to drop them to do this BS criminally receiving case of a porn shop owner that was actually a victim himself.

Incidentally, it was around Christmas time, and I sure had other better things to do than deal with a BS case like this.

The defendant got something like a $50.00 fine. The gall of him and Serpico to come to the office to check up on my work and ask for the credit.

Anonymous said...

Al Pacino should should take of the DA's offices....

retired cop from queens said...

Happy birthday, Frank. What you stand for, encourages all of us !!

Serpico was a great movie said...

Happy Birthday Frank, You're my HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. Your example has not been copied by any of the NY Judges. Is there honor among judges and the mafia code?

Anonymous said...

What has changed since Frank did the right thing? Yes, it has gotten more corrupt.

Anonymous said...

What is the Blue Wall anyway... but a kind of Peer pressure..

The very stuff we tell our children to resist..

The very stuff the police talk about as it relates to gangs..

But no... they don't see the hypocrisy...

The reflections in the ugly mirror might be too much for them to bear...

Happy Belated Birthday Frank.. I've read some of your personal reflections... you're more than okay in my book.. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Frank Serpico as well! No, does not seem like any or many of the Judges have followed his Lead! Could use some of his Work right in columbia county and upstate counties too! Great work and great movie!

Anonymous said...

As most people on the inside know corruption can not exist for one minute without the higher ups consent

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
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