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The author describes his time as chief counsel to the Knapp Commission, which investigated police corruption in New York City.
In fifty years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases in New York City and elsewhere,Michael F. Armstrong has often dealt with cops. For a single two-year span, as chief counsel to the Knapp Commission, he was charged with investigating them. Based on Armstrong's vivid recollections of this watershed moment in law enforcement accountability—prompted by the New York Times's report on whistleblower cop Frank Serpico—They Wished They Were Honest recreates the dramatic struggles and significance of the Commission and explores the factors that led to its success and the restoration of the NYPD's public image. Serpico's charges against the NYPD encouraged Mayor John Lindsay to appoint prominent attorney Whitman Knapp to chair a Citizen's Commission on police graft. Overcoming a number of organizational, budgetary, and political hurdles, Chief Counsel Armstrong cobbled together an investigative group of a half-dozen lawyers and a dozen agents. Just when funding was about to run out, the "blue wall of silence" collapsed. A flamboyant "Madame," a corrupt lawyer, and a weasely informant led to a "super thief" cop, who was trapped and "turned" by the Commission. This led to sensational and revelatory hearings, which publicly refuted the notion that departmental corruption was limited to only a "few rotten apples." In the course of his narrative, Armstrong illuminates police investigative strategy; governmental and departmental political maneuvering; ethical and philosophical issues in law enforcement; the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the police's anticorruption efforts; the effectiveness of the training of police officers; the psychological and emotional pressures that lead to corruption; and the effects of police criminality on individuals and society. He concludes with the effects, in today's world, of Knapp and succeeding investigations into police corruption and the value of permanent outside monitoring bodies, such as the special prosecutor's office, formed in response to the Commission's recommendation, as well as the current monitoring commission, of which Armstrong is chairman.
Irving Younger was a legend. His unparalleled wisdom and insight were honed by experience on both sides of the bench, as a law professor and as a prolific legal commentator and educator. This collection from the ABA Section of Litigation is compiled from the Professional Education Group's recordings of Professor Younger's classic continuing legal education programs. Timeless and relevant, this anthology teaches and entertains a new generation of lawyers.
The 1960s was a time of social and generational upheaval felt with particular intensity in the melting pot of New York City. A culture of corruption pervaded the New York Police Department, where payoffs, protection, and shakedowns of gambling rackets and drug dealers were common practice. The so-called blue code of silence protected the minority of crooked cops from the sanction of the majority. Into this maelstrom came a working class, Brooklyn-born, Italian cop with long hair, a beard, and a taste for opera and ballet. Frank Serpico was a man who couldn't be silenced -- or bought -- and he refused to go along with the system. He had sworn an oath to uphold the law, even if the perpetrators happened to be other cops. For this unwavering commitment to justice, Serpico nearly paid with his life.
In May 2010, NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft made national headlines when he released a series of secretly recorded audio tapes exposing corruption and abuse at the highest levels of the police department. But, according to a lawsuit filed by Schoolcraft against the City of New York, instead of admitting mistakes and pledging reform Schoolcraft's superiors forced him into a mental hospital in an effort to discredit the evidence. In The NYPD Tapes, the reporter who first broke the Schoolcraft story brings his ongoing saga up to date, revealing the rampant abuses that continue in the NYPD today, including warrantless surveillance and systemic harassment. Through this lens, he tells the broader tale of how American law enforcement has for the past thirty years been distorted by a ruthless quest for numbers, in the form of CompStat, the vaunted data-driven accountability system first championed by New York police chief William Bratton and since implemented in police departments across the country. Forced to produce certain crime stats each quarter or face discipline, cops in New York and everywhere else fudged the numbers, robbing actual crime victims of justice and sweeping countless innocents into the police net. Rayman paints a terrifying picture of a system gone wild, and the pitiless fate of the whistleblower who tried to stop it.
In this illuminating memoir Javid Chowdhury shares his varied experiences over four decades in the IAS: the years in training when he imbibed the service’s ethos and values; his initiation into the rural universe as the District Development Officer and the District Magistrate; and further on, to his handling of the infamous Bank Securities and Jain Hawala scams as Director of Enforcement and Union Revenue Secretary. With a light pen, Chowdhury describes the changing social profile and attitudes of entrants to the higher civil services; the nepotism, in many garbs, that he encountered as Establishment Officer; and the stranger-than-fiction tortuous investigations of crimes. He also offers his nuanced reflections on the dubious legacy Gujarat acquired as a result of the communal carnage in 2002. Chowdhury further examines how policymaking within government came to be whittled away under the neo-liberal theology, with key scrutiny being left to external expert think tanks and ad hoc groups. As a consequence, he perceives that public accountability came to be inordinately diffused, resulting in the roller-coaster governance that we witness today. Sharp and insightful, replete with telling anecdotes and amusing sketches of icons, colleagues and ministers, The Insider’s View is a compelling portrait of the author, a self-confessed welfare socialist, besides being an X-ray of the innards of the bureaucracy.

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