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Schoolcraft In a Psych Ward: Who’s the Real Crazy One?

June 21, 2010

The hospital record of a whistleblower cop thrown into a psychiatric ward after exposing precinct wrongdoing is filled with inconsistencies about his mental state.

Jamaica Hospital’s record (see the full, three-page report) of police officer Adrian Schoolcraft of Brooklyn’s 81st precinct describes him as “coherent” and “relevant” and says “his memory and concentration is intact.”

Its record also says he is “alert and oriented.”

But then comes this line, seemingly out of left field: “His insight and judgment are impaired.”

Its final diagnosis: “Psychiatric disorder” and transfer to its psych ward’s ER.

O.K., so what’s going on?

'He is coherent, relevant with goal directed speech and good eye contact. ... He is ? paranoid about his supervisors.

Apparently doctors at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center accepted the story told by police who, after Schoolcraft cut out an hour before his tour ended, followed him home to Queens, broke down his apartment door, and dragged him in handcuffs to the hospital.

“As per Sgt James of the 81st precinct,” reads the hospital report in its choppy English, “patient complained of not feeling well yesterday afternoon and left work early after getting agitated and cursing superior. They follow him home and he had barricaded himself and the door had to be broken down to get to him. …

“No acute medical problem. ...” the report continued. “He is coherent, relevant with goal directed speech and good eye contact. … His memory and concentration is intact. He is alert and oriented. His insight and judgment are impaired.”

Schoolcraft was held for six days in Jamaica Hospital’s psychiatric ward, even though the cop who badmouthed him had an agenda. After Schoolcraft left the precinct early on Oct. 31, 2009, without permission, supervisors sent a posse to drag him back to work. The posse included a deputy chief, Michael Marino — with his own misbehavior issues — who sat on Schoolcraft’s bed and harassed and threatened him.

The hospital report also calls Schoolcraft “paranoid about his supervisors.” But was it paranoia, or was Schoolcraft speaking the truth?

He had maintained his bosses were making crime at the precinct appear lower than it actually was by downgrading felonies to misdemeanors and encouraging victims of crimes not to report them. And he had the documentation to prove this.

Inexplicably, the hospital report includes a question mark before the word paranoid. It reads, “He is ? paranoid about his supervisors.” Why does the doctor throw that in? Maybe he questions his own conclusions.

Dated Nov 1, 6:30 A.M. and handwritten and by a Dr. Khim, a psychiatric resident whose full name is not legible, the report also includes the names of three others doctors: Patel, Lwin and Nawaishianyii.

“34-year-old male, white police officer, living by himself, was brought in by N.Y.P.D. of 81st precinct, in handcuff [sic] to Medical ER with complaint of abdominal pain, nausea and dizziness and patient had stated he took Nyquil,” it begins.

“Psych consult was called and reported as patient acting bizzare [sic], handcuffed and in Police custody…

“Patient says while sleeping in his bed landlord open [sic] the door and his colleagues entered and handcuffed and brought him to Jamaica hospital. He says he is worried about the situation going on. Says this is happening because he has been reporting to his superiors and commissioner about internal officers of the police department. Says he knows his supervisors are hiding robbery and assault cases to get higher number/position. Says he has paper documentation about this crime and reporting since last year. Denies past psy[ch] hospitalization or suicidal attempt.”

From this, the final diagnosis of Schoolcraft as “Psychiatric disorder.”

Under “Recommendation,” it lists the following:

l.] ….unpredictable behavior and escape risk.

2.] Transfer to psy[ch] ER after medical observance.

3.] Discussed with Dr. Nwaishianyii and Sgt James. Case discussed with Dr. Patel.”

So how does someone described by a doctor as coherent, alert, and with memory and concentration intact get thrown into a psych ward?

Hospital spokesman Ole Pedersen told this reporter, “I am not a physician and would not review and discussclinical issues relating to any patient’s record.”

He told Graham Rayman of the Village Voice: “We have to take the word of whoever is coming in with him, and make a decision based on what they tell us. If there is an issue, the issue is with the Police Department or whoever brought an individual in.”

 
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Sgt. James, who is said to works midnights, did not return a message left at the 81st precinct.

As to what happened at the hospital, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or even a psychiatrist to read between the lines.

Three doctors, perhaps new to this country, apparently accepted a police version and put Schoolcraft away.

Schoolcraft maintained he was victimized because he discovered evidence superiors were hiding robbery and assault cases and told the doctors he had documentation.

Well, if you didn’t know better; if you didn’t know he had tape-recordings that justify everything he said, you might think, as the doctors apparently did, that he is a nut who needs psychiatric help.

And yet everything Schoolcraft has said turns out to have been true. He secretly tape-recorded roll call meetings at the precinct where superiors discussed downgrading felonies to misdemeanors and refused to take complaints from victims. He even tape-recorded the police break-in at his apartment, including his encounter with Deputy Chief Marino.

The Village Voice has written four stories about Schoolcraft’s tapes, which have led both cops and victims from other precincts in the city to come forward and corroborate his claims with similar and disturbing reports about the NYPD’s low-balling or hiding crimes.

Not only do their stories corroborate Schoolcraft’s claims but they paint a widespread picture of police neglecting their duties citywide so that New York appears safer than it really is.

Last week, the Voice reported that the apparently systemic down-grading of crimes allowed a rapist to commit six sexual assaults in Washington Heights before he was finally caught after his seventh attack — and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Retired detective Harold Hernandez told the Voice that the initial six crimes, committed over a two-month period, went unnoticed by 33rd Precinct detectives because patrol supervisors had improperly labeled most of them as criminal trespassing — misdemeanors.

Equally disturbing, Hernandez told the Voice that the department hid this case from the media so that New Yorkers would remain in the dark about this terrible police screw-up.

“Once this thing blew up, the job made sure the press did not find out about this case," Hernandez said. "It was very high-profile within the department because they thought the women were going to run to the press."

The case never made the newspapers or the electronic media, the Voice reported.

Stories about downgrading crimes have been around since 2005 when the presidents of the patrolmen’s and sergeant’s unions complained publicly about the practice. When Mark Pomerantz, the chairman of the mayor’s corruption commission, sought precinct crime records to investigate these allegations, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly refused to provide them. Mayor Michael Bloomberg remained silent. Pomerantz resigned.

Earlier this year, two professors — one a former NYPD captain — surveyed more than a hundred retired New York Police Department captains and higher-ranking officers who said that intense pressure to reduce crime had led some supervisors and precinct commanders to manipulate crime statistics.

Others said that precinct commanders or their aides went to crime scenes to persuade victims not to file complaints or to urge them to change their accounts so that offenses could be downgraded to lesser crimes.

Just think. When four mopes are charged with plotting to bomb two Bronx synagogues in a case that smacks of entrapment — (The FBI supplied the bombs and its informant promised the mopes $250,000) — the story is front page news because the plot was “terror-related.”

When two other mopes from New Jersey, perhaps encouraged by an undercover cop, plan to fly to Egypt to join a terrorist group, that story is also front page news.

But when a cop says that crimes are systemically being downgraded and that victims are encouraged not to file crime reports and he has the tapes to prove it, the police break down his door, take him in handcuffs to a Queens hospital, where he’s locked up in a psych ward for six days, a move that seems reminiscent of how things were done in the old Soviet Union.

Where is the outcry in the media about what happened to Schoolcraft? Which politician has the guts to take on Kelly and Bloomberg and demand an outside investigation of the doctored crime stats?

Who’s crazy now?

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