New York’s Finest don’t look too fine in a new book launched this week by a former cop.
Charlie Castro, an officer fired in 1998 after almost 18 years in uniform, has written a book entitled, NYPD BLUE Lies: The shocking true story of racism, corruption, cover-ups and murder in the NYPD, that unguardedly blames the department’s top brass for perpetuating a culture of discrimination against Black and Latino officers but also claims that the same attitude has been responsible for the death of many New Yorkers of minority descent like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell.
“The last 30 people killed by the NYPD have been people of color,” said Castro, who lived in Astoria and worked in the 114, 103, and 115 Precincts. “They treat Black and Latino police officers different than they do the white officers. They treat us like garbage. They way they treat people out on the street is even worse.”
The unabashedly candid look behind the scenes of the largest police force in the country began in 1981, and spanned three mayors and seven police commissioners. Castro wrote about the many times he was not recognized for his work – like a successful eight-hour hostage negotiation – while other officers who did less received promotions. He dedicated several chapters to the controversy with his ex-wife, former cop Carol Shaya, who had posed nude for Playboy and was subsequently fired while illegal actions by male cops were not penalized as harsh. He also spent a few chapters criticizing the “ticket blitz” tactics of the NYPD, which Castro said are meant to generate revenue for the city and not really fight crime.
To balance his image, Castro said that he also spoke about his personal life like the drug addiction that plagued members of his family to show that he’s not perfect.
Castro, who said he was fired for handing a note over to an officer in regards to complainant – Bliss Verdon – who was later killed by her cop boyfriend, sued the department in 1999 along with 1,000 other Black and Latino officers, including his brother also a cop and current State Senator then cop Hiram Monserrate, for discrimination and the NYPD settled the case for $27 million in 2004, the largest settlement paid out by a police department in the United States.
On the cover of NYPD BLUE Lies the blurb from Frank Serpico, a former NYPD officer who in the 1970s brought to light a lot of the corruption that plagued the department at the time, agreed with what Castro reveals in the book. But according to Castro, his “mission is to finish something that Frank Serpico suggested 35 years ago: getting an independent monitor to oversee corruption within the NYPD.”
“My point with the book is that the Police Department has proven time and time again that it cannot police itself,” Castro said in an interview with The Queens Courier, about the book that took him two years, and many back and forth with lawyers, to write and publish. “I challenge anybody to say that what I say in here is a lie.”