Police officers have a bond like no other - both to each other and their communities. Sometimes called the "thin blue line," officers are sworn to protect people against the horrible things of the world. But what happens when that bond is broken, and police officers aren't the ones stopping crime but creating it? Sadly, there are plenty of examples of cops who committed heinous crimes, and often the only reason these rogue cops are caught is thanks to whistleblowers in police departments.
These whistleblower cops should be counted among the most honorable and noble police officers because of their dedication to justice. These anti-corruption cops were against the misdeeds of their fellow officers, and fought against the system when they saw something wrong. Some of them were hailed as heroes, while the others paid dire consequences.
A Whistleblower Cop's Life Was Threatened With Arson
Scott Germond wanted nothing more in life than to serve and protect. He worked for the Chenango County Corrections Division and then landed his dream job with the Norwich Police Department (NPD) in 2014. As soon as he started at the NPD, Germond was asked by a commanding officer to help him get another officer fired. Germond wouldn't do it and suddenly he did not "fit the norm" and became the target of harassment from his fellow officers.
When Germond reported the misconduct within the department to the city, things really started to heat up. One of the accused officers got "violently confrontational" and another threatened to burn down Germond's house and kill him. The commanding officer who asked Germond to get another officer fired was relieved of duty, but the harassment continued and even worsened.
When fellow officers told Germond they would not back him up in dangerous situations on the job, he was diagnosed with PTSD and took a medical leave. "I took an oath to protect and serve the public," Germond said in June 2016. "I’m not going to uphold the 'blue line' when people are doing things they shouldn’t. My ethics are better than that."
A "Rat" Cop Who Fought Police Misconduct Was Forced To Quit
Before Baltimore became synonymous with police brutality in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, one officer attempted to blow the whistle on police misconduct and paid the price for it. Baltimore Police Department officer Joseph Crystal reported a fellow officer for beating a suspect while in custody and he was harassed for being a "rat" and eventually forced out of the department.
Crystal was working a drug arrest in October 2011 where a suspect threw away what his fellow officers believed were drugs. They pursued the man and later found them hiding in the home of an officer's girlfriend. According to Crystal, the suspect, while still handcuffed, was taken out of the police wagon and back into the house where he was found, at which point an off-duty officer proceeded to beat the man.
Crystal did what any honorable officer would do and reported the misconduct. After cooperating with prosecutors, Crystal became the target of harassment by his fellow officers, who called him "rat" and even left a dead rat on his car.
Feeling the Baltimore Police Department had become a hostile workplace environment, Crystal quit the force and filed a $5 million lawsuit contending that "nothing has come of the investigation into what the department did and allowed to continue to happen to plaintiff for whistleblowing police misconduct." The city eventually settled with Crystal for $42,000, a paltry sum in light of the stress he was subjected to and the loss of his career and reputation.
The "First And Only Gay Female" Cop On Force Was Fired For Stopping Police Brutality
When a former Bogota, NJ, city council member called police, she was hoping they would assist her emotionally-disturbed son. Instead, they tackled the boy - who never threatened the officers and did not have a weapon - punched him in the head and continued to beat him until 20-year veteran Officer Roberta Tasca stepped in to stop them. The boy's mother later commended Officer Tasca saying: "I appreciate you protecting him when the other officers attacked him. I can't figure out what I would have done without you on the scene."
Rather than start an investigation into the excessive violence, which was caught on dash cam and in photos taken by the boy's mother, the Bogota Police Department suspended Tasca and told her to turn in her weapon. No charges were ever filed against the offending officers and Tasca told a local news station she was fired for doing the right thing. Tasca was the first female officer to work at the Bogota Police Department, and the "first and only gay female" officer, which she believes factored in her firing.
Tosca filed a federal lawsuit for wrongful termination and won the case. The presiding superior court judge invalidated her firing, ruling that the then-mayor and then-councilman who had decided her fate had conflicts of interest and should have been recused from disciplinary matters regarding Tasca's termination and ordered that she be reinstated and given back pay.
A Florida Cop Was Fired After Blowing The Whistle On Racial Profiling
Racial profiling is a controversial (and illegal) practice used by some law enforcement officers throughout the country. One of the biggest methods police use to racially profile is through stop-and-frisks, where civilians can be temporarily detained and questioned without probable cause. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), racial profiling is rampant in Florida. So when Officer Jose Rosado observed the practice first hand at his own Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD), he decided to blow the whistle on the department and he was fired for speaking out.
Rosado had worked for the MGPD for seven years before he was terminated in June 2015. While working on the Crime Suppression Team (CST), Rosado claims the team conducted "countless" stop-and-frisks without "the reasonable articulable suspicion and/or probable cause required" and that he was ordered to conduct those illegal activities himself. Believing he was protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, Rosado sent a disclosure documenting the policies of the CST and of his supervisor, Major Anthony Chapman. Just over one year later, Rosado was fired.
Believing his firing was retaliation for speaking out, Rosado filed a lawsuit against the city for violating the Whistleblower Protection Act by firing him. In his affidavit, Rosado claimed Major Chapman told the department that "all crimes in the city were being committed by Black males ages 15 to 30" and that the MGPD "needed to stop all such males." He further claimed Major Chapman told officers to perform a version of stop-and-frisks called "field contacts" of "Black males even if they were in front of their house."
As of May 2017, the lawsuit is still ongoing.