What Did The Knapp Commission Accomplish? | Conversations with Jim Zirin


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>HI THERE. I’M JIM ZIRIN. WELCOME BACK FOR MORE “CONVERSATIONS.” OUR SUBJECT TODAY IS POLICE CORRUPTION. ALMOST A HALF CENTURY AGO, THE LEGENDARY FIVE-MEMBER COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED POLICE CORRUPTION IN THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, KNOWN AS THE KNAPP COMMISSION, BEGAN ITS WORK UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF JOHN LINDSAY FOLLOWING REVELATIONS AIRED BY DETECTIVE FRANK SERPICO AND OTHERS THAT THERE WAS A BLUE WALL OF SILENCE INTENDED TO COVER UP SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION IN THE NYPD. WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE MISSION OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION, AND WHAT DID IT ACCOMPLISH IN THE TWO YEARS OF ITS EXISTENCE? WITH US ARE TWO EXPERTS WHO KNOW THE STORY. RICHARD J. CONDON SERVED AS NEW YORK’S POLICE COMMISSIONER IN 1989 AND 1990 IN THE KOCH ADMINISTRATION. HE SERVED ON THE KNAPP COMMISSION STAFF. RAYMOND W. KELLY IS NO STRANGER TO US. HE SERVED AS POLICE COMMISSIONER IN THE DINKINS ADMINISTRATION FROM 1992 TO 1994 AND AGAIN UNDER MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG FROM 2002 TO 2014, MAKING HIM THE LONGEST SERVING POLICE COMMISSIONER IN HISTORY. HE IS NOW THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE GUARDIAN GROUP, AN ORGANIZATION PROVIDING SECURITY SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS, GOVERNMENTS, AND CORPORATIONS WORLDWIDE. WE ARE HONORED TO WELCOME THESE TWO OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUALS TO THE PROGRAM. I’LL START WITH YOU, RAY. APRIL 1970, CAN YOU REMEMBER THAT FAR BACK, WHAT WERE YOU DOING PROFESSIONALLY? [LAUGHTER]>>I WAS A SERGEANT, A NEWLY PROMOTED SERGEANT, IN A PATROL PRECINCT. THE KNAPP COMMISSION WAS ANNOUNCED AT THAT TIME. I WAS ALSO GOING TO LAW SCHOOL, BY THE WAY, AS I WORKED ON PATROL. THE KNAPP COMMISSION WAS ANNOUNCED, BUT IT DIDN’T — IT WAS GOING TO LOOK INTO POLICE CORRUPTION. BUT IT HAD HEARINGS LATER IN THE YEAR, AND THAT’S REALLY — THEY WERE BLOCKBUSTER HEARINGS, AND IT SENT A SHOCK WAVE THROUGHOUT THE DEPARTMENT. BY THE WAY, THEN I WAS WORKING WITH JAY KRIEGEL AND MAYOR LINDSAY BUILDING A SECURITY PROGRAM AND ACTUALLY WENT TO WASHINGTON WITH THEM, SO I HAD LEFT THE PRECINCT. BUT MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT IN THE DEPARTMENT THAT THERE WAS SOME CORRUPTION AS FAR AS GAMBLING WAS CONCERNED, GAMBLING — THEY STAYED AWAY FROM THAT. I THINK WHAT THE REALLY RELEVANT PART OF THE COMMISSION HEARING WAS THAT NARCOTICS WAS AN AREA OF VERY STRONG CORRUPTION. THERE WERE THESE MEAT EATERS AND GRASS EATERS, PEOPLE WHO JUST TAKE CASUAL BRIBES, THAT SORT OF THING, VERSUS THE MEAT EATERS, WHO WERE REALLY SERIOUS PEOPLE. REAL CRIMINALS. SO ALL OF THIS WAS A REVELATION, I THINK, TO MOST COPS. >>HOW DID YOU COME TO HAVE AN ASSOCIATION WITH THE KNAPP COMMISSION? >>I HAD DONE AN INVESTIGATION. IN THE NYPD, I WAS A SERGEANT, AND I HAD DONE AN INVESTIGATION INTO POLICE CORRUPTION INVOLVING PLAINCLOTHES, VERY EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION THAT WAS DONE BY THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT OF ATTORNEY’S OFFICE. AND IN THE END WE FOUND THAT THE CHIEF INSPECTOR’S INVESTIGATING UNIT, EVERYBODY IN THE PLAINCLOTHES UNIT, AND EVERY DIVISION OF PLAINCLOTHES UNIT, WAS ON AN ORGANIZED PAD.>>THE PAD? A LIST — >>IT’S A LIST OF — WELL, TO A LARGE EXTENT, IT WAS A LIST OF POLICY OPERATIONS, BECAUSE THE POLICY PEOPLE WOULD MOVE AROUND MORE OFTEN THAN THE BOOKMAKERS. BOOKMAKERS WOULD CONTACTED BY PHONE, AND THERE WERE ALSO CRAP GAMES AND CARD GAMES THAT WERE ALSO PAYING MONEY TO THE POLICE. AND WE GOT ABOUT 65 INDICTMENTS. BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, WIRE TAPS THAT WE USED UNDER NEW YORK STATE LAW DIDN’T COMPLY WITH TITLE THREE UNDER THE FEDERAL LAW, AND WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THEM, SO THOSE INDICTMENTS JUST DISAPPEARED. A LOT OF POLICE OFFICERS WERE FIRED AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION THAT WE DID IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. BUT NONE OF THE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION STOOD UP. >>HOW DID YOU GET FROM THERE TO THE KNAPP COMMISSION?>>I HAD A MEETING IN THE D.A.’S OFFICE WITH AN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN THE RACKETS DEPARTMENT, AND MIKE ARMSTRONG CAME TO MEET WITH HIM. AND I WAS JUST SITTING ON THE COUCH MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS, AND PHILLIP STARTED TO TELL ARMSTRONG THAT THERE WAS REALLY VERY LITTLE CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. THIS WAS AN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY. AND HE TOLD ARMSTRONG IT WAS REALLY VERY LITTLE CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. AND THEN HE MADE THE MISTAKE, AND HE TURNED TO ME, AND HE SAID HOW MANY PRECINCTS ARE THERE IN THE CITY, AND I SAID 78. AND HE SAID HOW MANY PRECINCTS HAVE — I SAID 78. AND THEN I EXPLAINED THAT DIDN’T MEAN THAT THE COMMANDING OFFICER IN EVERY PRECINCT WAS DISHONEST, BUT THERE WAS SOMEONE IN THE PRECINCT WHO WAS PICKING UP MONEY IN THE NAME OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER, WHETHER THE COMMANDING OFFICER KNEW ABOUT IT OR NOT, AND THAT WAS MY INTRODUCTION TO ARMSTRONG. AND THEN EVENTUALLY I WAS ASKED TO GO OVER FROM THE INTELLIGENCE DIVISION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO HELP WITH THE KNAPP COMMISSION INVESTIGATION.>>NOW, AT THE TIME OF THE FORMATION OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION, DAVID BURNHAM WROTE A SERIES OF ARTICLES IN THE “NEW YORK TIMES,” OF WHICH YOU UNDOUBTEDLY WERE AWARE THAT ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION AND OF COVERUP THAT HAD BEEN BROUGHT REALLY TO THE MAYOR BY FRANK SERPICO AND DAVID DURK, SO WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT A COMMISSION WAS APPOINTED BY MAYOR LINDSAY TO LOOK INTO THE SUBJECT? THIS HAS BEEN GOING BACK FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS.>>I WASN’T SURPRISED. THE MAYOR TRIED TO DO AN INTERNAL COMMISSION, AND IT INVOLVED THE POLICE COMMISSIONER AND OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. THAT JUST DIDN’T FLY. THE PRESS WAS ALL OVER IT. IT WOULDN’T HAVE CREDIBILITY. SO THE MAYOR THEN HAD TO DO AN EXTERNAL COMMITTEE, AND THAT’S WHEN KNAPP CAME IN, HE WAS THE CHAIRPERSON, OUR FRIEND, MIKE ARMSTRONG, BECAME THE CHIEF COUNSEL, AND AS A RESULT HE BECAME A BIT OF A ROCK STAR. HE WAS AMAZING. I JUST FINISHED LAW SCHOOL, AND I GOT MY DEGREE, AND I SAID, WOW, WHO IS THIS GUY? HE HAD THAT KIND OF SMIRK. HE WAS VERY, VERY GOOD. AND AS I SAY, HE BECAME VERY FAMOUS. HIS PICTURE WAS GOING TO BE ON THE COVER OF NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE. UNFORTUNATELY, THAT WEEK, CHINA WAS ADMITTED TO THE U.N., AND SO THEY WERE PUSHED OFF THE FRONT PAGE. >>OFF THE COVER FOR CHINA. >>THE COMMISSIONERS WERE VERY INTERESTING PEOPLE. CY VANCE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE. FRANKLIN THOMAS WENT ON TO HEAD THE FORD FOUNDATION. AND THEN THE ATTORNEYS ON THE STAFF BECAME VERY PROMINENT PEOPLE, TOO. NICK SCOPPETTA, FOLLOWED BY THE NAME OF — WHO BECAME THE U.S. ATTORNEY FOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, PAUL ROONEY, A GROUP OF VERY DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE. >>SO YOU ACTUALLY HAD THREE PEOPLE WHO LATER BECAME FEDERAL JUDGES WITH KNAPP AND JOHN AND ARNOLD BAUMAN. SO IT WAS A DISTINGUISHED PANEL. ALL RIGHT, SO THERE ARE REALLY TWO PHASES TO THE COMMISSION’S OPERATION. THE FIRST INVOLVED DETECTIVE BILL PHILLIPS, WHO WAS GETTING PAYOFFS FROM A MADAM. AND THEN — AND THERE WERE A SERIES OF PUBLIC HEARINGS IN WHICH PHILLIPS TESTIFIED THAT MIKE ARMSTRONG WAS THE EXAMINING ATTORNEY, SO WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES ABOUT THAT? >>PHILLIPS — WAS VERY INTERESTING, BECAUSE HE TOOK MONEY ANY WAY THAT YOU COULD FIND TO TAKE MONEY. HE WAS SHAKING DOWN. WHEN HE HAD BEEN IN PLAINCLOTHES, HE HAD BEEN TAKING MONEY IN PLAINCLOTHES. WHEN HE WAS A DETECTIVE, HE WAS TAKING MONEY ON INDIVIDUAL CASES. SO HE WAS VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF WHERE CORRUPTION EXISTED IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. WHEN HE TURNED, OF COURSE, HE WAS A WONDERFUL WITNESS, BECAUSE HE HAD AN AWFUL LOT OF INFORMATION.>>SO HE WAS THE MEAT EATER?>>OH, HE WAS A MEAT EATER, YES. >>AND WAS THE OBJECTIVE OF THE FIRST PHASE INVOLVING PHILLIPS TO MAKE CASES AGAINST CORRUPT OFFICERS, OR TO SEE IF THERE WAS A PERVASIVE PATTERN OF CORRUPTION?>>LET ME TELL YOU THE FUNNIEST THING ABOUT THE KNAPP COMMISSION. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT THEY DID, THEY NEVER GOT ANY CREDIT FOR. NICK SCOPPETTA, ONE OF THE ATTORNEYS, HE TURNED BARB LUCY, A DETECTIVE IN THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT, NARCOTICS DIVISION, AND THAT WAS THE PREMIER NARCOTICS UNIT IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. AND HE WENT UNDERCOVER AND STARTED WORKING FOR THE FEDS. ACTUALLY, WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT THE INFORMATION HE HAD WAS SO IMPORTANT THAT ARMSTRONG AND SCOPPETTA WENT OVER TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, AND THEY MADE SCOPPETTA AN ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, AND HE RAN LUCY AND THE KNAPP COMMISSION NEVER MENTIONED LUCY. BUT ABOUT A YEAR AFTER THE KNAPP COMMISSION FINISHED, 52 OF THE 70 PEOPLE IN THE S.I.U. WERE INDICTED. TWO THEM COMMITTED SUICIDE. SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT. AND THEY WERE THE PEOPLE WHO DID THE LARGEST NARCOTICS OPERATIONS IN THE CITY. SO THAT WAS VERY IMPORTANT. AND ANOTHER THING, PHILLIPS HAD SPOKEN TO A POLICE OFFICER WHO TOLD HIM THAT HE TOOK $5,000 FROM AN ORGANIZED CRIME GUY, BECAUSE HE HAD SEEN THE ORGANIZED CRIME GUY COMMIT A MURDER. AND THEY NEVER MENTIONED THAT AFTER KNAPP COMMISSION ENDED, THEY TURNED IT OVER TO PROSECUTORS. SO THOSE WERE TWO INCREDIBLE FINDS, AND YET THEY NEVER BECAME PART OF THE HEARINGS.>>MIKE ARMSTRONG DID A BOOK 40 YEARS AFTER THE KNAPP COMMISSION, AND IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN THIS SUBJECT AT ALL, YOU GOT TO READ THE BOOK. IT’S FASCINATING. IT’S REALLY INTO THE DETAILS. HE KNOWS THEM PERSONALLY. BUT ANYBODY ELSE INTERESTED IN THIS SHOULD GET THAT. >>I THINK IT’S CALLED “THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE HONEST.” “THEY WISHED THEY WERE HONEST,” AND THAT WAS BASED ON SOMETHING THAT SERPICO HAD SAID. HE SAID 10% OF THE COPS ARE CORRUPT, 10% ARE HONEST. AND THE REST WISH THEY WERE HONEST. >>BUT PHILLIPS WAS A TERRIFIC WITNESS. HE WAS A CHARISMATIC GUY. I THINK THEY HAD HIM ON THE STAND FOR 3 1/2 DAYS. AND HE HANDLED IT VERY WELL. I MEAN, HE COULD HAVE GOTTEN HIS OWN TV SHOW IF HE DIDN’T GO TO JAIL LATER.>>MOST WHO GOT OFF THE WITNESS STAND FOUND HIMSELF INDICTED FOR MURDER.>>IT WAS ACTUALLY FUNNY, BECAUSE THE DETECTIVE WHO WAS INVESTIGATING THE MURDER OF A CUSTOMER AT A HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION SAW PHILLIPS ON TV, AND HE RESEMBLED THE SKETCH HE HAD OF THE PERSON THEY WERE LOOKING FOR, SO HE STARTED THE INVESTIGATION. HE WENT IN TO MEET WITH JOHN KEENAN, WHO WAS A MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY THEN, AND TOLD HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT, AND KEENAN WAS, OH, MY GOD. AS IT TURNED OUT, THEY HAD ENOUGH EVIDENCE, AND PHILLIPS WAS CONVICTED OF MURDER, AND HE DID 33 YEARS. >>AND MIKE ARMSTRONG NEVER THOUGHT HE DID THE MURDER.>>THEY WERE CLOSE FRIENDS. THEY USED TO ARGUE TO ARMSTRONG’S DYING DAY WITH ARMSTRONG CLAIMING HE WAS INNOCENT. >>– BUT HE WAS CONVICTED.>>HE WAS CONVICTED.>>YEAH, YEAH.>>WELL, THAT WAS AN INTERESTING EPISODE. SO YOU THEN HAVE PHASE ONE. PHILLIPS TALKING ABOUT THE PATTERN OF CORRUPTION, THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND THEN THEY GO ON TO PHASE TWO, WHICH IS THE SERPICO-DURK’S AFFAIR. NOW, THAT WAS ALREADY OUT THERE. BURNHAM HAD EXPOSED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, SO WHY THE COMMISSION NEED TO HOLD HEARINGS ABOUT THAT?>>I THINK THE PRESSURE WAS ON THEM TO HOLD HEARINGS. THEY DIDN’T INTEND TO HOLD HEARINGS ON SERPICO AND DURK, BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT SERPICO EXPOSÉ HAD ALREADY BEEN DEALT WITH. IN FACT, I THINK THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AT THE TIME, I THINK THEY INDICTED SEVERAL PEOPLE FROM THE DIVISION WHERE SERPICO HAD BEEN WORKING. BUT THERE WAS A LOT OF PRESSURE ON THEM TO HAVE FURTHER HEARINGS.>>THE QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT MAYOR LINDSAY KNEW ABOUT IT, AND THAT’S HOW JAY GOT ALONG. JAY WAS A PHENOMENAL PERSONALITY. I WORKED WITH HIM. HE WAS LIKE THE DEPUTY MAYOR, BUT HE WAS RUNNING A LOT OF THINGS. IN A PRIVATE HEARING, HE BASICALLY SAID THAT HE ONLY TOLD LINDSAY VERY GENERAL INFORMATION. THEN IN A PUBLIC HEARING, HE SAID, NO, I SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM. SO THERE WAS THIS DESIRE BASICALLY FROM THE MEDIA TO GET MORE INFORMATION. THEY INTERVIEWED JOHN WALSH, WHO WAS A FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. HE HAD THIS FIERCE ANTI-CORRUPTION REPUTATION. AND IT FEELS THAT HE DID NOTHING ABOUT THE REPORTS FROM SERPICO AND DURK. SO THAT WAS THE SECOND HEARING. AS DICK SAID, HE HAD NO INTENTION OF HAVING THAT, BUT THE PRESSURE WAS ON, SO THEY HAD TO BRING THE POLITICAL ASPECT INTO IT. >>AND THE POLICE COMMISSIONER AT THAT TIME, ALTHOUGH HE REALLY RESIGNED — >>– RESIGNED AFTER THE COMMISSION STARTED. >>AND WAS IT BELIEVED HE HAD A LOT TO ANSWER FOR? HE PRESIDED OVER THIS CULTURE OF CORRUPTION. >>I THINK IT’S FAIR TO SAY, HOWARD WAS A GOOD MAN. HE LIVED IN PHILADELPHIA. HE WAS RECRUITED TO BECOME POLICE COMMISSIONER HERE. NOT CERTAIN HE WANTED THE JOB. HIS HEART WAS IN PHILADELPHIA.>>HE WAS A HANDS-ON GUY BY ANY MEANS. I DON’T THINK HE KNEW VERY MUCH ABOUT IT. MAYBE HE DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, I DON’T KNOW. HE APPARENTLY SPENT EVERY WEEKEND IN PHILADELPHIA. YOU KNOW, HE NEVER REALLY EMBRACED THE NEW YORK — >>ONE DAY IN PHILADELPHIA, SECOND PRIZE IS TWO DAYS IN PHILADELPHIA. AND SO ON. SO ARE YOU CRITICAL AT ALL? YOU REALLY WOUND UP WITH A REPORT, A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT, AND YOU CITED CASES AND INSTANCES AND DREW CONCLUSIONS. YOU DIDN’T BRING ANY CASES, BUT THAT REALLY WASN’T YOUR MISSION. BUT IT CREATED QUITE A SENSATION. BUT ARE YOU CRITICAL AT ALL OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION? YOU THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE? >>NO, I THINK THEY PERFORMED AN IMPORTANT MISSION. I THINK THEIR GOAL WAS TO RUB THE DEPARTMENT’S NOSE IN IT. THIS PROBLEM HAD BEEN RUMORED ABOUT, BUT HAD BEEN NEGLECTED BY THE HIERARCHY OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. SO THEY WANTED BOTH THE DEPARTMENT AND THE PUBLIC TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. THEY WEREN’T LOOKING AT SPECIFIC PEOPLE. THAT WAS NOT THEIR MISSION. AND I THINK THEY ACCOMPLISHED THEIR MISSION. IT WAS A SUBJEC — CORRUPTION GOING TO BE EVERGREEN IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ALWAYS AN ISSUE. YES.>>WELL, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE BAD ACTORS. >>ABSOLUTELY. IT’S SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO WATCH. BUT IT WAS A COLD SHOWER FOR A LOT OF POLICE OFFICERS. >>I THINK THE CULTURE CHANGED. I THINK THAT IN THE EARLY YEARS, THE BAD GUYS HAD THE UPPER HAND, AND THEN AFTER THE KNAPP COMMISSION AND THE INDICTMENT THAT IS FOLLOWED AND THINGS LIKE THAT, IT WAS EASIER TO BE HONEST. IF YOU WERE BEING CORRUPT –>>MIKE ARMSTRONG SAID THAT, REALLY, TO BE ONE OF THE BOYS, YOU HAD TO BE PART OF THE CULTURE, AND THERE WERE EVEN PEOPLE THAT BRAGGED ABOUT BEING CORRUPT, THEY HADN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A NOTCH IN THEIR BELT. BUT ANOTHER ASPECT OF THIS, GUYS, WAS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE NYPD. NOW, AT THE TIME OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THE NARCOTICS AGENCY, BROUGHT OR ALERTED THE NYPD TO A NUMBER OF CASES INVOLVING CORRUPT OFFICERS, AND IT WAS IGNORED BECAUSE IT WAS FELT THAT THE FEDS WANTED TO LOCK SOMEONE, THEY SHOULD LOOK UP FEDERAL AGENTS AND NOT THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS. NOW, THAT CERTAINLY HAS CHANGED TODAY.>>A LOT OF CASES CAME RIGHT OUT OF S.I.U., AND THAT MEANT THE END OF THE DESTRUCTION TO S.I.U.>>RAY, DO YOU FEEL THE RELATIONSHIP HAS CHANGED BETWEEN THE NYPD AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AS FAR AS CORRUPTION IS CONCERNED?>>I THINK AS FAR AS CORRUPTION IS CONCERNED, IN MY EXPERIENCE, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN A VERY STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN EASTERN DISTRICT. I DON’T SEE MUCH OF A CHANGE. NOW, MAYBE BACK THEN WE KNOW THAT THERE WAS AN ISSUE WITH JOHN WALSH, FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, THERE WAS RESISTANCE OF FEDERAL CASES. THERE CERTAINLY WOULDN’T BE THAT TODAY. IT WASN’T ON MY WATCH.>>I REMEMBER THERE WERE TWO NARCOTICS DETECTIVES WHO WERE INDICTED IN THE FEDERAL COURT, AND THEN YOU MAY REMEMBER THEM, AND THEY DIVIDED DRUGS AFTER A SEIZURE WITH THE INFORMANT, AND THEY WERE PROSECUTED IN THE FEDERAL COURT, AND THE NYPD WAS MONITORING THAT VERY CLOSELY, AND THEY HAD PEOPLE FROM THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION, THIS WOULD BE IN, I DON’T KNOW, 1970 OR SO. AND THEY WERE BOTH CONVICTED, BUT IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF A FEDERAL INDICTMENT OF NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS AND THIS FEELING PERHAPS AT THAT TIME THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE CLEANED — NYPD SHOULD HAVE CLEANED ITS OWN HOUSE.>>WELL, FEDERAL INDICTMENTS OF POLICE OFFICERS ARE NOT UNCOMMON ANYMORE.>>NOT ANYMORE, NO. >>QUITE OFTEN THAT WILL HAPPEN. >>OK, SO YOU MOVE ON 20 YEARS TO THE EARLY 1990s, AND THERE WAS A TIME WHEN YOU WERE POLICE COMMISSIONER THE FIRST TIME AROUND, I GUESS, AND YOU HAVE SOMETHING CALLED THE MOLLEN COMMISSION. OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION ACCOMPLISHED A GREAT DEAL, WHY DID WE NEED THE MOLLEN COMMISSION? >>WELL, BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO MONITOR FOR CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. WHEN YOU GIVE, AS I SAY, PEOPLE LOW PAY A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF POWER. YOU HAVE TO ASSUME THERE’S GOING TO BE SOME CORRUPTION. SO I THINK THE MOLLEN COMMISSION ALSO DID A GOOD JOB. BUT IT WAS FOCUSED ON NARCOTICS TRADE. MICHAEL DOWD IN PARTICULAR WAS A TARGET OF THE MOLLEN COMMISSION, AND WHAT IT SURFACED TO ME, I WAS THE FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, AND THEN THE POLICE COMMISSIONER, OUR STRUCTURE, OUR INTERNAL CORRUPTION FOR THE STRUCTURE WAS WRONG. WE HAD INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION HANDLING WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER TO BE LOW-HANGING FRUIT. WE HAD SOMETHING CALLED THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS UNITS IN BOROUGH COMMANDS WITHOUT ANY RESOURCES AT ALL. AND THAT’S WHO WAS INVESTIGATING MICHAEL DOWD. THE SERGEANT DID A TERRIFIC JOB. BUT HE HAD NO SUPPORT, NO SUPPORT. SO I BECAME THE COMMISSIONER, AND I RESTRUCTURED THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION, MADE IT A BUREAU. FOR INSTANCE, THE INTERNAL DIVISION COMMANDER DID NOT REPORT TO THE POLICE COMMISSION. I CHANGED THAT. I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. >>THE CHIEF INSPECTOR?>>ON A DAILY BASIS. NO. REPORTED TO THE CHIEF OF INSPECTION SERVICE, WHICH HAD THE INTELLIGENCE DIVISION –>>THE MOLLEN COMMISSION, BY THE WAY, PRAISED YOU, AS YOU REMEMBER, FOR REALLY CRACKING DOWN ON THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION. >>WELL, WE HAD TO CHANGE THINGS. BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT ONCE YOU HAVE A COMMISSION THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CORRUPTION ANYMORE. WE SAW THE — INVESTIGATION. THIS IS SOMETHING TO THE 20-YEAR CYCLE PHENOMENA.>>WELL, LET’S JUST TALK FOR A MINUTE ABOUT THE MONITORING OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE AN OUTGROWTH OF THE MOLLEN COMMISSION WAS THE COMMISSION TO COMBAT POLICE CORRUPTION. MIKE ARMSTRONG BECAME ITS CHAIRMAN EVENTUALLY, AND — >>ANOTHER MEMBER WAS JIM ZIRIN.>>WAS AND IS. BUT YOU HAVE THAT COMMISSION, AND YOU HAVE THE U.S. ATTORNEYS, TWO U.S. ATTORNEYS IN NEW YORK CITY, AND YOU HAVE FIVE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS. YOU HAVE AN INSPECTOR GENERAL. YOU HAVE INVESTIGATIONS. SUCH AS HE IS. AND IS THAT TOO MUCH OVERSIGHT? AND, OF COURSE, YOU HAVE THE REVIEW BOARD LOOKING AT POLICE BRUTALITY. NOW, IS THAT ENOUGH OVERSIGHT, OR IS IT TOO MUCH OVERSIGHT? DOES IT DEMORALIZE POLICE OFFICERS? >>WELL, UNIONS WILL TELL YOU, ABSOLUTELY TOO MUCH. I THINK IT’S HARD TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. ALWAYS GOING TO HAVE THESE CASES, AND THE QUESTION WILL BE, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN WITH ALL OF THIS OVERSIGHT? IT HAPPENS. >>AND A LOT OF THE OVERSIGHT IS NOT JUST POLICE OFFICERS. I MEAN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, THE FIVE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS WATCHING THE POLICE IS A SMALL PART OF THEIR WORK.>>GOING BACK TO 1970, YOU HAVE THE LOCUSTS OF MOST CORRUPT ACTIVITY SEEM TO BE IN THE PLAINCLOTHES DIVISION, WHICH WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ENFORCING GAMBLING LAWS AND NARCOTICS LAWS. WHAT WAS THE SALARY?>>I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE NUMBER WAS, BUT IT WAS VERY LOW, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. WAS THAT A RATIONALE FOR CORRUPTION? COPS AREN’T MAKING MONEY, THAT’S NEVER AN EXCUSE TO DO THAT. BUT IN 1971, JUST TO SHOW YOU WHAT THE CONDITIONS WERE LIKE IN THE CITY, 15 NEW YORK CITY COPS KILLED THAT YEAR. TWO OF THEM OF THEIR OWN ACTIONS, 13 WERE SHOT AND KILLED. IT GIVES YOU A SENSE OF WHAT THE JOB WAS LIKE IN THOSE DAYS. IT WAS VERY INTENSE. THAT MAY BE — AS THE RATIONALIZATION, TOO, TO TAKE MONEY. BUT YOU’RE RIGHT, IT WAS CERTAINLY SEEMED TO BE LOCATED WITHIN THE ENFORCEMENT UNIT AS FAR AS GAMBLING IS CONCERNED. BUT THE KNAPP COMMISSION SHOWED THAT WASN’T THE CASE, THAT THE NARCOTICS CORRUPTION WAS ONGOING.>>ONGOING. SO I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU TWO GENTLEMEN. AND YOU MAY HAVE THE SAME ANSWER, AND YOU MAY HAVE DIFFERENT ANSWERS, AND THE QUESTION IS, WHAT WAS THE LEGACY OF THE KNAPP COMMISSION? >>WELL, I THINK I WOULD SAY THAT IT SHIFTED THE BALANCE BETWEEN CORRUPT AND UNCORRUPT, WHERE YOU WERE ALMOST EMBARRASSED, AS YOU SAID EARLIER, TO ADMIT THAT YOU’RE NOT CORRUPT. THAT DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE, YOU KNOW? AND I DON’T THINK POLICE OFFICERS ARE AFRAID TO TURN IN OTHER POLICE OFFICERS WHEN THEY SEE SOMETHING –>>RAY? >>I BASICALLY AGREE. IN HIS BOOK, MIKE ARMSTRONG SAID THE KNAPP COMMISSION BASICALLY GREATLY REDUCED THE GRASS EATERS, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST LOOKING FOR ANY KIND OF OPPORTUNITY, $5, $10. DIDN’T DO THAT MUCH TO THE MEAT EATERS THOUGH.>>–>>YEAH, EXACTLY. THEY’RE MUCH MORE ON GUARD. BUT HE CHANGED THE CULTURE. I AGREE. THE COMMISSION CHANGED THE CULTURE, AND I AGREE WITH HIM.>>CHANGED THE CULTURE. SUNLIGHT IS THE GREATEST OF DISINFECTANTS SAID JUSTICE BRANDEIS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING BY. THIS HAS BEEN JUST TERRIFIC.>>PLEASURE.>>NICE TO SEE YOU. >>THANK YOU FOR COMING BY. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE “CONVERSATIONS.” I’M JIM ZIRIN. TAKE CARE, AND ALL THE BEST. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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