Official Frank Serpico Blog
Friday, June 26, 2009
I am sure the officer who shot Omar Edwards did not intent to kill an innocent man, blake or white, let alone a fellow officer.
He shot his victim out of fear.
Fear has been the accepted justification for taking another persons life.
The officers responsible for the death of Amado Diallo testified or testilied that the saw a gun and feared for their lives, justifying the firing 51 shots and the death of Diallo.
The question should arise, what is the basis of this "fear"? Word has it that Commissioner Kelly is bring in an outside shrinke to analys the problem.
He is also revamping a ten year old traing film.
But the problem lies in the training itself and the failure of the police to integrate within their own department and the community."us against Them" as if they are drafted from an alien planet and not the very neighborhoods that weined them.
The code of silence or the blue wall is real, it exists.
We cover up no matter what, we don't testify against the uniform even if the man in the uniform commits a crime punishable by law if committed by a civilian.(At least not if you want back up when needed.) We clean our own laundry, no oversight agency needed we police ourselves.
Former Deputy Training Commissioner James Fyfe alegedly was "an expert on the use of force" and "developed methods for armed plaincloths officers to identify themselves"This Desk Jockeys' doctoral disitation led to rules forbiding the firing of warning shots.
His amazing method was for police to simply shout "police don't move" upon hearing that challenge, Fyfe said, plainclothes and off duty officers should identify themselves by shouting "I'm on the job"I personally never heard police say "police don't move" I have heard "freeze mother______" and it seemed to work quite well.
The code is not nationaly respected inter agency wise, it is more city wide code.
In the case of the "dirty Thirty" The 30th pct's rouge cops headed by ptl.Dowde who snorted coke of the dashboard of his police cruiser.
The NYPD higher ups dragged their tail but the culprits were arrested by the Suffolk police outside the city limits.Fyfe, whom Ray Kelly said," left his mark for the better on the NYPD and many police departments which sought to emulate it"
Fyfe testified40 times against the Philidelfia police.He testified in a Rode Island Federal civil rights trial for a mother whose off duty Sgt son was shot dead by fellow officers as he tried to break up a fight.
He testified that Providence Police Bosses failed to train their officers on how to preventfriendly fire."Mistakes are most likely to happen when officers are not well trained and these officers were not well trained."Well said.
Odly Fyfe never, to my knowledge, ever testified against any NYPD cops.
He was however a witness for the four cops in the Diallo case.
Mr. Fyfe is credited with covering up the facts leading up to my being shot in a bungled "buy and bust" narcotics operation.
The details of which are cronicled in his book which is required reading in Law School.and dedicated to Police Commissioner Patrick V.Murphy.
The very man who put me in harms way.Go figure.
For the "that was then this is now Apoligist"The NYPD "has to stop assuming that every black male with a gun is a perpitrator" was said by the Commanding Officer of a Brooklyn Precinct, not then but now the year 2009.
What troubles me
The fact that troubles me is that of all the responces to my blog at HUFF, no one seems to be aware or care that Edwards whether white or black cop or civilian was a mortally wounded human being and lay dying with his hands shackled behind his back while three of New York's finest stood over him, as a friend of mind stated,"like a big prised 8 point buck".
He was a human being and should have been accorded the dignity as such. What crime was he guilty of?
He was someones son, father, husband, brother, in this particular case a brother officer.
This is the issue that must be addressed if we are to call ourselves civilised.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I will be blogging on www.huffingtonpost.com
under frank serpico in black and white
Below are my unedited versions
TO PROTECT AND SERVE; LET'S GET REAL
"What did you think of the shooting in the city the other day" my friend on the other end of the line asked.He a retired NYPD Lieut.with 20 years of service."What shooting I asked, me a retired NYPD detective shot in the line of duty in a bungled buy and bust narcotics operation."Where the cop shot the other cop" he said matter of factly.
"What!" I exclaimed expecting to hear some bizarre tail of how some psycho cop went postal.
NOT! It was another case of white cop shoots black man and not the first time in NYC the black man turns out to be another cop.
"What do you think" I queried back."Well," after a pause, "another inexperienced young Turk, lacking, discretion and judgement assigned to an Anti Crime Unit.Where its' members may come across a tight situation that requires intelligent Police action,restraint and not reaction out of fear"
Bringing to mind the Diallo debacle, where four white cops assigned to a Street Crimes Unit panicked and fired 41 shots at an unarmedblack man standing in the doorway of his home in the Bronx.SCU, ACU, the name may change but the game is the same, it's a numbers game where it's members have, off the record, cart blancby the Mayor and his Commissioner to "toss" search suspects at will (allegedly with probable cause) and make arrests where applicable.
Most white plainclothes cops patrolling the streets of Harlem or the Bronx seem to assume or take for granted that every black or Hispanicmale "knows" they are cops.
At the same time, more often than not, assuming that just about every black or Hispanic male is a likely suspect of some misdeed or other,especially if he has a gun, real or imagined.
( In the Diallo case the officers on trial for manslaughter at their change of venue trial, testified they saw a gun where there was no gun.) In a partial attempt to cover up their blunder, among other lame excuses, the officers claimed from their car, they saw that Diallo resembled a rapist they were searching for. Diallo, a black man, resembled a photo of a black rapist in the hour after midnight?. It seems no mention was made at the trial of the officers cunning ability to discern a black man's features under such extraordinary circumstances.
Recalling a similar situation I once found myself in, one of four white cops in an unmarked car patrolling the streets of Harlem, when one of the occupants shouted "Stop the car!" racing up the stoop to a black man, standing in his doorway, without exhibiting a badge, they proceeded to violate his rights to unlawful search. Myself, feeling embarrassed at this unnecessary intrusion in another man's life, attempted to resolve the situation, while giving the other officer's an opportunity to save face. "Wait!" I said, looking the suspect in the face. "He doesn't fit the description" as if we were looking for a suspect at large. In so doing, I turned and said "I will be in the car."
When my colleagues returned, they reprimanded me "Some back up you are!" "Back up for what?" I smirked. Their lame excuse did not surprise me. "You know these niggers, you toss them good enough you will come up with something." On more than one occasion, responding to a citizen's call for police assistance in a dispute, where the suspects in question were a white and a black man, the officers would invariably approach the white guy, asking "What's the problem sir?" "I am the one who called" answered the black man, shyly.
I am sure the officers responsible for the gunning down of "one of their own," are not feeling good about their blunder, even though, one of their own, turned out to be a black cop. But a dying black officer or a dying black or white civilian, have the same feelings, and one would hope in the eyes of the law and a civilized society, a mortally wounded human being would be accorded the dignity as such, that the injured could feel secure in the fact that an agency that has "to protect and serve," as its motto, would make an attempt at saving their life.
But Officer Omar J. Edwards was given no such consideration, as he lay bleeding to death in the Harlem street, mentally teetering between life and death. He was not consoled and encouraged to "hold on, you're gonna make it" as I was not consoled by my "fellow officers," as I lay bleeding on a filthy tenement landing.
No, the assurance came from an old man of color, to me a white man, and it felt good, soothing me, encouraging me to hold on.
But Officer Omar J. Edward, father of two, young, proud, dedicated, still wearing his police academy tee shirt, after two years on the job, lay dying on a New York City street, hands shackled behind his back while his assailants stood by. Just another black "perp" victim of police indiscretion, and the higher commands inability or smug unwillingness to properly train and assign its officers.
Omar cannot speak for himself. He has been forever silenced. He is unable to defend himself against the unfair slights of posthumous revisionism.
Sure, I know what the patrol guide says and what it doesn't say, and I also know what the academic desk jockeys will say. But no self respecting police officer is going to see his personal effects riffled and not take immediate action and, as the report seems to indicate, Officer Edwards shield was properly displayed.
In my day, I was taught to take cover first, and on one occasion as I confronted an armed assailant holding a gun in each hand, that had just killed a man, I took cover behind a parked car. I was armed with my S&W snub nose five-shot revolver and with no extra rounds. I hollered "POLICE! DROP YOUR WEAPONS!" As he turned, yes, I fired, a warning shot, leaving me with four live rounds but I was in control of the situation. My next two rounds would be center mass, not a reckless volley. But the assailant was not game for a shoot out. He turned and ran. I apprehended him without much of a struggle.
Let's get real. In real life, no one reacts that quickly to a command. Sure, the patrol guide mandates you "Remain motionless, when so ordered." The average person is going to look to acknowledge who is giving the order. Each case is different. One night, I was on my post wrestling a burglar to the ground, when an unmarked car swerved around the corner. I thought they were coming to assist me, but the two clowns who called themselves "cops" opened fire without saying a word. It was only their bad shooting and my quick response in hitting the ground, thanks to my military training, that saved my life. In the aftermath, after some clever writing and rewriting, they were promoted to detectives and I got zilch.
In the end, the responsibility must fall on the shoulders of the high command. It is time that the men and women entrusted with the responsibility to protect and serve, be adequately and appropriately trained, assigned and compensated for the task at hand. The question remains, was Officer Edwards given the chance to drop his gun before he was cut down in a hale of bullets. Sure, Officer Edwards is being posthumously promoted to Detective First Grade. Great. Perhaps to placate his widow and his two children. Perhaps to discourage a wrongful death suit.
I am sure Officer Omar Edwards and his kids would say "Shove it. I want my daddy back."
Friday, June 05, 2009
THE NYPD LOOSES ONE OF ITS FINEST
My sincerest and heartfelt sympathy and prayers to the surviving family and friends of slain Officer Omar Edwards.