A New York City police officer has settled his complaint against a hospital that held him against his will in a psychiatric ward. The officer, Adrian Schoolcraft, claimed bosses ordered him arrested on and hospitalized in retaliation for his whistleblowing disclosure of arrest quotas and manipulation of crime statistics.
Schoolcraft previously settled claims against the New York Police Department for $600.000 plus back pay and benefits from 2009 until the end of this year. Quoting “a source,” the New York Daily News reported that Schoolcraft’s total settlement with the city exceeds $1 million dollars and that “it’s highly likely he will retire from the force.
In 2010, the Village Voice reported the following details about Schoolcraft’s hospitalization after an October 9 meeting with superiors about his allegations.
Then, on the afternoon of October 31, he felt sick and went home about an hour early. Precinct supervisors appeared at his door hours later, claiming he had violated policy and demanding that he return to work.
One of his visitors was a deputy chief, who upbraided him while sitting on the edge of his bed. On orders from that deputy chief, Schoolcraft was then thrown to the floor, handcuffed, dragged from his Queens apartment, and taken against his will to a psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital. His forced hospitalization lasted six days.
. . . . Jamaica Hospital records obtained by the Voice indicate that police gave intentionally misleading information to the medical staff about Schoolcraft’s behavior that night, which caused them to treat him as a psychiatric patient.”
Sound recordings of police activities made secretly by Schoolcraft were the focus of an explosive series of articles in the Village Voice.
Allegations of mental instability, forced hospitalization and other psychiatric abuses have been used to retaliate against numerous whistleblowers over the years, as psychologist Donald R. Soeken describes in his book, “Don’t Kill the Messenger!” It is a particularly reprehensible form of reprisal, a smear that, regardless of any legal victories, poisons a whistleblower’s efforts to motivate reforms, gain social acceptance, and find paid employment. To create awareness of the problem, and to help whistleblowers victimized by such retaliation, Dr. Soeken founded the Whistleblower Support Fund.
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For more information about the Schoolcraft case, see the archived website schoolcraftjustice.com.