Post 13 Trivia – May 2022, Trial Room

As we read today’s newspapers, they speak out of taking vacation days for cops who lost traffic cases. Remember the days at 1400 Williamsbridge Road (Bronx) when a criminal court judge heard moving violations and parking tickets. Then the city got fancy- they created a Parking Violation Bureau for tags. Remember the green or buff tags that were carried on day tours. Remember all the trees we killed with affidavits, summons cards. A good month was three or four movers and a dozen of parkers that made you a star in the eyes of the Precinct Commander. 

In September 1965, the Department established a Patrolman’s Activity Report (U.F.240) form where we kept track of the arrests, summonses (moving- parking-others) public morals (reports- arrests) and Juvenile Delinquency Reports (Y.D.1) Remember getting two days off for a gambling collar! One Bronx cop arrested Monroe Shannon and spent the next day outside Sidney Cooper’s office on Ryer Avenue. I don’t believe that firemen had or have monthly activity reports. 

Historically trial room fines went into the Police Pension Fund. It was in both Article I & Article II Funds, but the fines go into the city’s General Fund. 

The New York Times published a list of trail room penalties where patrolman were fined a day’s pay by the Police Commissioner for the following violations: Absent from inspection of uniforms & equipment and one hour & 45 minutes late Torn bedspread on bed, absent from post & not in view of relieving point Absent from post, 25 minutes, was on adjoining post with no memo book entry While assigned to a raided premises, found seated in chair apparently asleep Sitting inside a booth, apparently asleep Absent from reserve- eight hours Absent from outgoing roll call, reported sick 25 minutes late Absent from reserve (two hours) & AWOL from patrol (two hours & 55 minutes) Wore soiled and torn blouse & trousers in trail room Fail to signal promptly- 45 minutes late While on patrol in department vehicle was smoking a cigar While on reserve was smoking a cigarette in the station house’s dormitory Absent from post (18 minutes) – seen coming from a drug store Failed to be equipped with a regulation billy (probably had a blackjack) While assigned to parade duty, failed to keep restricted area clear of spectators (Don’t think they had Puerto Rican Day on June 6, 1924) Seated in a taxi cab in conversation with two unknown men Carelessly lose police shield 

Three patrolmen were fined two days pay- one for improper patrol and the other for improper patrol-when seen had gloves off and was carrying a package. The third for answering the Sergeant in a loud & disrespectful manner. 

One interesting case involved a patrolman from the 24th Precinct (Webster & Mosholu Parkway) that were absent from post and was in conversation with two other patrolmen and a female and had no memo book entry. Two different cops were listed, as being fined a day’s pay for the same incident, but nothing of the third patrolman in conversation. He probably was listed in another listing of trial room offenders. Talk about keeping the public informed where General Orders were published in the New York Times. 

The patrolman’s salary in 1924 was $2500 per year. Their monthly salary was about $300.00 with only a 5% pension contribution ($125.00 per annum) PBA dues were one dollar a year and don’t forget the monthly house tax that went to the bed-maker. So one day’s pay was about $6.85, while two days (13.70) went into Article I Pension Fund. 

Richard Enright was commissioner from 1918 to 1925. He had been appointed to the force by Colonel Roosevelt in 1896. He served this probation period at the old Oak Street station (4th Pct) and after making good as a probationer was appointed patrolman on November 21, 1896. Enright was promoted to roundsman, December 29, 1902 and sergeant December 7, 1905 and police commissioner. January 23, 1918. He also served as president of both rank’s benevolent associations. Note: roundsman became sergeant and sergeant became lieutenant in 1908 

According to John J. Hickey “Enright was number one on two eligible lists, but while he was promoted to acting captain, Mayor Mitchell could not see Enright promoted to captain.” It seems they were all afraid of the General Bingham, who ruled the police department with an iron hand (1906-09) and rugged leadership brought political protest. Enright was the first commissioner to come from the ranks and his first thing was to give all the old men in service a soft details. 

Fifty years later, police commissioners help force the old timers into retirement by putting them out on patrol. Remember the civilianization of the precincts with the Police Administrative Aides in the 1970s. One cop was replaced by three civilians in the clerical office. Usually a precinct had a roll call man that prepared the roll call with carbon copies for all three tours. The fourth platoon (6 PM- 2 AM) brought in additional help. 

Today, the Department Advocate’s Office (Trial Room) was civilianized by Ray Kelly (2005) and its legal staff are no longer staffed with law school graduates that were police officers. Today, the department’s objective is to keep department trails are down and negotiations are up. The department has tried to sell that they have more credibility with the public and fewer cases brought to trial means less unnecessary anxiety for police officers. 

Some interesting reading “Our Police Guardians” by Patrolman John J. Hickey Shield #787 NYPD written in 1925 that he dedicated to the Honorable Richard Enright, Police Commissioner. Apparently he liked Enright, but the book deals with a history of the Police Department and the men who patrolled the streets of New York City in the days before Prohibition. 

March 2020, Post Trivia – Caruso & Congress (con’t)

Caruso & Congress (con’t) John Young (Patrolman) March 2020 Last month we left off with Phil Caruso’s statement before Representative John Conyers (Democrat, Michigan) November, 1983. In September, he had already written a similar opinion to a New York Times editorial, “How to Police the Police.” How we got there! In June, attorney C. Vernon Mason, Rev. Calvin Butts and a group of religious leaders along with several members of the Grand Council of Guardians went to Washington. Their mission was to meet with Congressman Conyers (then chairman of the subcommittee on Criminal Justice) and convince him to come to New York City. Also at the meeting were Congressman Charles Rangel and staff members of several New York congressmen who convinced Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino (Democrat, NJ) that Conyers’ subcommittee should hold as many hearings as would be necessary. Questionable arrests by police, use of racial epithets and unwarranted use of physical force were the norm. Anyone and everyone, who was black, seemed to be a likely target for police insensitivity and misconduct, including black officers working in plainclothes who were subjected to racial epithets and attacks by white uniformed police before (and even after) they identified themselves as police. According to their congressional 1984 report, “There were ugly confrontations between black police organizations and the PBA (integrated but white-controlled),” were said to be relayed by some officers. “We can’t help the black community because we are hardpressed to help ourselves,” said one Officer. Being a PBA delegate since 1970, I don’t remember any particular incident but, then again, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast today. The subcommittee scheduled hearings with Mayor Ed Koch in July & September. The Mayor declined to appear at the 369th Harlem Armory on 9/21/83, stating that the location was inappropriate. However, he and Commissioner McGuire both attended a meeting on November 28, 1983. McGuire had already announced that he was leaving and Mayor Koch had named Ben Ward, as his new Police Commissioner. It’s funny that Conyers was the only Criminal Justice subcommittee member to attend the New York hearings, but was joined by fellow Congressman George W Crockett, another Democrat from Michigan. Crockett’s famous statement, “Detroit solved its police brutality by electing a black mayor, who appointed a black police commissioner.” That statement probably helped Koch to move Ward from Corrections to 1 Police Plaza. Witness testimony introduced 98 cases of alleged brutality previously reported to CCRB. 5 did not take place in NYC; 4 involved white persons (although the witnesses stated that they were minority persons); 5 cases involved black NYPD Police Officers (although witnesses misrepresented the officers as being white); 8 cases involved Transit Police; 2 involved Housing Authority Police; 1 involved a retired NYPD Detective; 1 involved a Correction Officer. Consequently, the original 98 allegations were whittled down to a precious few. The real clincher, however, was the fact that the allegations of widespread police brutality dated back a quarter-of-a-century to 1958! This was the best that Mason & Co. and other political opportunists could do to support their claim. The Congressional hearings attracted considerable attention from the media. The NY Post wrote an article on Caruso’s opening statement and a bitter 15-minute clash with the panel of Congressmen (Rangel & Conyers) in the Cadman Plaza court house. The Post headline read, “Angry PBA Boss Stomps Out of Hearing on Cops.” What sparked it? Phil ripped the subcommittee by stating, “You people have got your priorities screwed up and that’s all I have to say,” and walked out after Rangel and Conyers grilled him on why there were no blacks on the PBA Board of Directors. Nothing was asked about police brutality, but only why there was no black representation on the PBA’s board. Reporter Doug Feiden of the NY Post wrote, “Earlier, Rangel had insisted that you (Caruso) should welcome these hearings as a way to clear your name and the name of the NYPD.” Caruso shot back , “I’m not hear to clear anyone’s name,” and walked out of the jam-packed Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, triggering boos and hisses from the crowd. It should be noted that the subcommittee’s report did not mention Caruso’s testimony but he had already won re-election before the first hearing. A change in the PBA Constitution & By-Laws (1982) saw a four-year term for the board of officers and more appearances for Phil on major radio and television stations. By October 1984, a city-ordered eviction led to the shooting of Eleanor Bumpers in the Bronx, with Mario Merola (Bx D.A) telling the press, “They should have locked the door and gone for coffee.” Because of criticism by the public, the PBA went on an extensive advertisement campaign defending the use of force by Officer Sullivan. P.O. Sullivan was indicted for manslaughter in January 1985. Supreme Court Judge Vitale dismissed the indictment in April 1985. The State’s Court of Appeals voted (5-1) to reinstate the manslaughter charge (11/12/86), but Sullivan opted for a bench trial. Judge Eggert found Sullivan “not guilty” in February 1987, and the “Feds” showed no interest in the case. The shooting was found to be within the guidelines but ESS was issued “Tasers.” During this time, Al Sharpton appeared dressed in an orange jumpsuit at 250 Broadway and painted the letters KKK on the outer hallway walls of the 20th floor. A year later, a small bomb was planted in a utility closet outside the PBA office but went off just after midnight. The only damage was in the stockroom because a large safe blocked most of the explosion. The PBA office moved to another location later in the year. Just for the record: C. Vernon Mason lost his law license (1995) for cheating clients out of monies. Conyers was forced to resign from Congress (2017) because of sexual abuse allegations, and the lesbian group “M-19” admitted bombing   the PBA office.