Feb 3, 1971: Frank Serpico Is Shot


On february third. Nineteen seventy-one nypd. Detective frank serpico was shot in the face during a drug bust when franks partners refuse to help him. He was shot in the face. Many wondered if the nypd headset. Frank up my guest hosts ashen. Elena are going to take over from here to discuss the circumstances that resulted in frank. Serpico shooting and what happened when he survived. Thanks vanessa frank. Serpico always wanted to be a cop for him. It was never about the power or the possibility of seeing his name in the papers. Frank serpico merely wanted to make new york city place. Unfortunately when frank joined the nypd. In september of nineteen fifty-nine the department was experiencing rampant corruption as a kid. Frank witnessed firsthand. How a cop could abuse his authority while working in his father's shop an officer came in. First you shine when frank finished the officer got up and left without paying. Frank was stunned but assumed the officer was an outlier. Just a bad apple. He got a rude awakening. Once he became a patrolman himself years later when frank was still a police cadet he and his partner arrested. A couple of suspects while protecting vandalized synagogue. They thought the nature of the arrest should have led to some kind of award but the precinct clerk only agreed to make a note for a citation if franken his partner slipped them a few bucks. Frank realized that bribery was the key to success in the department but he refused to accept that instead he would stay honest and work his way to the top by doing good police. Work throughout the nineteen sixties. Frank didn't partake in any of the graphs are corruption. He knew his partners might take payoffs but he wouldn't. Naturally this made cops suspicious of him and it didn't help that. Frank looked nothing like a cop as a plainclothes officer. Frank didn't have to adhere to a standard dress code so he decided to look like his personality. He was bohemian long hair. Long beard psychedelic clothes. Frank lived in greenwich village and hung out with the counterculture. He was the complete antithesis of the nypd. Finally in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven alongside only ally. Detective david dirk. Frank started making noise to the departments higher ups and authorities at city hall for three years. They brought credible evidence of police corruption. And yet nothing was done. Fed up franken. david did the unimaginable. They went to the press in the middle of one thousand nine hundred seventy the new york times published an expose on corruption in the nypd. The report tarnished the nypd and led to the nap commissions formation. An official investigation into police corruption. All thanks to frank serpico in the department nuit frank coming forward. Put an even bigger target on his back by the end of nineteen seventy. He was transferred to narcotics where he was a total pariah. Frank serpico was shot in the face on february third nineteen seventy-one during what was supposed to be a routine drug bust however his partners refused to help him and let him bleed out in the hallway. He only lived because an elderly tenant called the paramedics. Frank miraculously survived though. He was left with bullet fragments in his skull and permanent hearing loss and despite the attempt on his life frank refused to remain silent later that year. He testified before the knapp commission making him one of the most important officers to testify against the police. A year later frank retired from the nypd and lived in europe until one thousand nine hundred eighty since then. He's continued to speak out against corruption and police brutality. He's still holds out. Hope that there will be fair and honest cops. Patrolling our streets.

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