Frank Palestro has been an officer of the New York Police Department for nine years. Other officers thought well enough of Palestro to make him their union delegate. However, when he saw another officer telling subordinates to write summonses for traffic violations that they never witnessed, refusing to take complaints and tampering with a gun at the crime scene, he had to speak out. Palestro made three anonymous calls to report this corruption. Then, the logs of these calls mysteriously appeared on his locker at the stationhouse. Now Palestro has been ridiculed and victimized for exposing corruption within the department. "I was the [Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association] delegate, and now I’m labeled a rat for doing what I was supposed to do," said Palestro. "This will stay with me for the rest of my career." The "code of silence" that uses social pressure to keep police officers from reporting crimes committed by other officers is still alive and well. The story reminds us of the brutal retaliation Officer Frank Serpico received in 1970 and 1971, as documented in the Sydney Lumet movie, Serpico. Palestro’s reputation has been scarred for standing up against corruption, a reprehensible reaction from the NYPD officers. Thank you to Gothamist.com for bringing this story to light.
Intern Quinn McCall contributed to this blog entry.