A "whistleblowing cop" in Brooklyn's 81st precinct is planning to file a $50 million suit against the NYPD today, claiming the city put him in a padded cell so he couldn't blow the lid off his unit's crime stat corruption.
Adrian Schoolcraft was a decorated, seven-year veteran of the NYPD and a four-year Navy vet. Last Halloween, he also became a psych ward vet after cops removed him from his Queens home and sent him to a six day stay at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
The Daily News broke the story last night, and according to a draft of Schoolcraft's lawsuit we obtained from his lawyer (the final version is expected to be filed in Manhattan federal court later today), the 35-year-old cop says his ordeal was the result of an orchestrated intimidation campaign after he made too much noise about corruption in his precinct.
Schoolcraft first earned the ire of his supervisors when he appealed a poor performance evaluation based on a failure to meet summons and arrest quotas. Officially, the NYPD denies it has a quota system, but Schoolcraft's complaint maintains police supervisors regularly pressured officers to make a certain number of arrests each month, implying they'd be reassigned if they couldn't, and even encouraging officers to make arrests without probable cause if necessary:
Schoolcraft later released tapes of Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello and other supervisors "pushing cops to meet quotas and greeting crime victims with skepticism, even not taking their reports in some cases." (Those tapes led to a major Village Voice investigation, the indictment of two cops, and Mauriello's transfer to Bronx Transit.)
While appealing his poor performance evaluation, Schoolcraft said he was harassed and intimidated, transferred to telephone switchboard duty, and forced to surrender his gun and badge when police brass concocted the psych ward scheme to discredit his allegations of corruption:
That "scenario" became reality last Halloween, when Schoolcraft felt sick and left work early. The complaint says police supervisors began calling Schoolcraft and his father to find him, urging Schoolcraft to return to work and threatening to put out a "city wide search" until they showed up at his Glendale, N.Y. home that evening:
("Marino," by the way, is Brooklyn North Deputy Chief Michael Marino. He was hit with internal charges last September after getting caught buying bodybuilding steroids at a Brooklyn pharmacy.)
According to his suit, Schoolcraft's supervisors then suspended him from work for leaving without permission, handcuffed and forced him into the ambulance as an emotionally disturbed person, and removed "substantial evidence of corruption [...] detailing the enforcement of illegal quotas and the perjurious manipulation of police reports, as well as plaintiff's notes regarding his complaints against the 81st precinct" from his home.
EMTs transported Schoolcraft to Jamaica Hospital, where he claims the police made "false and misleading statements" to have him committed against his will. Schoolcraft then spent three days in the hospital's psychiatric emergency room, and another three days in the regular psychiatric ward cohabiting "with individuals who had severe psychiatric disorders and engaged in bizarre and unsettling behavior:"
Schoolcraft was eventually released and is still on suspension. According to the lawsuit, he's since moved upstate but claims he continues to be harassed by visits from armed NYPD officials who "pound on his door, photograph him, and engage in efforts designed to purposefully intimidate and harass" him in a "tireless effort to silence him once and for all."
That last part may sound a little melodramatic, so if you're thinking Schoolcraft is a little paranoid, his lawsuit offers these excerpts from his psych eval at JHMC:
He's asking for compensatory and punitive damages of $25,000,000 each. We hope that will cover the $7,185 hospital bill.
UPDATE: We asked Detective Brian Sessa, a spokesman for the NYPD, for a response to the Daily News article and Schoolcraft's claim that chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne had been present during the Halloween home invasion. He e-mails: "The assertion in both the article and the lawsuit is false."