NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard LevittSign up to get column in email

Get a link in your mailbox to your weekly NYPD Confidential column as soon as it is published! Click on the button above right on this page — or here — to sign up for this feature.

The Good Cop

October 10, 2016

“Just got off of a very delayed LIRR train,” NYPD Det. Martin Green, a 16-year veteran, assigned to the citywide Traffic Task Force auxiliary unit, posted on his Facebook page when his LIRR train arrived at Penn Station on Sept. 28. “There was a medical emergency in the car ahead of mine. Not a regular medical emergency.”

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialLIRR personnel had asked over the loudspeaker if there were any trained medical personnel. Martin saw conductors looking at him through the window of the next car. They knew he was a cop because they had just checked his pass. He stood up and walked towards them. One of them explained that a pregnant woman had just passed out. Martin approached the woman — identified as W.A. [Wendy] Lattibeaudiere, of Farmingdale — and with the help of a passenger, was able to wake her. He held her hand as she began to panic.

“My job at that point was to calm her down, get some medical history, ensure that an ambulance was ordered for the next available stop, and contact a family member. Seems like a lot to do, doesn’t it? And all of it had to be done within seconds.”

He asked her what she was going to name her child. She asked him what his name was. “I told her ‘Martin.’ She then said, ‘Martin it is.’ I was honored.”

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittThen, while he held Wendy’s hand she began to shake and sweat. He had her maintain eye contact with him. It calmed her down and slowed her heart rate until the EMTs arrived and put her in an ambulance.

Afterwards, an African American man asked him if he was a cop. “I said yes. He said, ‘You do care about us.’ I told him that we care, we have always cared, and we will always care. That color makes no difference. It’s all about helping others.”

The moral of the story, Martin said: “We as police officers are always on duty. Our training helps save lives. We care about any and all. All lives matter to us.”

Postscript: According to an MTA spokesman, Wendy was about 20 weeks pregnant. She was taken to North Shore Forest Hills Hospital. Green says he spoke with her mother, Gezlin Golding, who told him her daughter was now at home and the baby was OK. Green adds that their family relatives from all across the country have called to thank him.

Sydney Schanberg 1934-2016. A memorial service was held at The New York Times last week for its Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Sydney Schanberg, who through his dispatches and his book, “The Killing Fields,” chronicled the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Schanberg died in July in Poughkeepsie. He was 82.

Speakers included Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., former Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld, and actor Sam Waterson, who portrayed Schanberg in the movie of his book. All praised Schanberg for his honesty, intensity, fearlessness and devotion to his Cambodian photographer colleague, Dith Pran, resettled in America with Schanberg’s help.

There was another side to Schanberg that I saw after he joined New York Newsday in the mid-1980s. Ed Koch was mayor then, and he developed a dislike for Schanberg. At mayoral conferences, Koch repeatedly called out Schanberg — berating and insulting him.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialAround this time, journalist Jack Newfield approached me and said he was completing a book on corruption in NYC government. His last chapter, he said, concerned Koch and a city contract awarded to someone with whom, Newfield said, Koch had had a homosexual relationship. Twenty-five years ago, such a relationship was considered a big deal.

Newfield said he himself did not want to write the story because it would not be good for his reputation. Rather, he wanted to provide me with the information so that I would write it, and he would then make it his last book chapter.

I nosed around some, confirmed the contract offer but not Koch’s supposed homosexual relationship. I then approached Schanberg. It would have been easy for him, considering the insults Koch had heaped upon him, to encourage me to pursue the story. 

Instead, Schanberg said, “Don’t write it.” People, he said, won’t care anything about the city contract. All they’ll remember is the homosexual part of it. “Even if it’s true,” he added, “it involves a personal relationship and it is just innuendo.”

 Honesty, intensity, fearlessness, devotion — all true. And Schanberg possessed another quality — decency.

« Back to top
Copyright © 2016 Leonard Levitt