Frank Serpico at GAP’s Anyone Can Whistle event in February 2010Here’s the pitch: A tough, yet honorable Army vet joins the NYPD, where he is suddenly thrust into the underbelly of rampant police corruption, and, in the dramatic climax, is shot – and nearly killed – exposing the truth. Sounds like it would be an awesome movie, right? Lucky for you, it is. Even luckier? It’s a true story.
This afternoon (April 24), GAP’s American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability comes to John Jay College with NYPD whistleblower Frank Serpico (i.e. the “tough, yet honorable” cop). This Tour stop is highlighted by a discussion with Serpico about his experience blowing the whistle, moderated by GAP Legal Director Tom Devine.
Serpico joined the NYPD in 1959 at the age of 23. He was a police officer for 12 years, and during his last several years on the force, his attempts to report police corruption to his superiors in the department fell on deaf ears. Serpico ultimately decided to go to The New York Times, which published an exposé on police corruption in the NYPD. He was later shot in the face during a “buy and bust” operation in 1971, and nearly died. Many people believe that he was set up by police, in order to silence him. Later that year, he testified in front of the Knapp Commission, appointed to investigate pervasive police corruption. His story is the subject of the excellent 1973 film Serpico, starring Al Pacino.
Here’s the details. If you’re in the New York City area, you should definitely check it out.
Tuesday, April 24, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Main Auditorium – Lobby, L63
524 W 59th St., New York City
GAP’s Tour is a dynamic campaign aimed at educating university students, and the general public, about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing. Goals of the Tour include raising awareness about the vital role whistleblowing has in our democracy, preparing America’s youth for ethical decision-making, countering negative connotations associated with whistleblowing, connecting prospective whistleblowers to available resources, and encouraging academic studies of whistleblowing.
This stop is the last of this academic year. Thus far, stops have included the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Brandeis, Texas at Austin, Auburn, Florida International, Rutgers-Newark, Syracuse, Tulane, South Texas School of Law, New York University, Seattle University, and Mount Holyoke College.