Sunday, 24 February 2013

New York Supercops

The theme of super cops in the USA needs to be addressed as there are many genuine officers who are a shining credit to their badge of office.  The late Lou Smit was an outstanding example.  There have been some in New York City, such as Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, The Lone Ranger & Tonto, Sonny Grosso, Eddie Egan, Frank Serpico & Greenberg & Hantz, otherwise known as Batman & Robin.

    Egan & Grosso were involved in the actual French Connection case in the early sixties, although, as to be expected the case was long and tedious, with prolonged surveillance on the suspects, and not the frantic all-action scenario as depicted in the film.  The film "The Seven-ups" with "Connection" star Roy Scheider, was based on files discovered by Sonny Grosso.

    Frank Serpico was a cop who battled against deep, ingrained corruption throughout the NYPD for some years before he was shot and badly wounded during a raid on an apartment.  Rumours soon started circulating that Serpico had been set up and the other cops on the raid allowed him to be shot.  His information to higher ups about the endemic corruption was ignored so he went to the New York Times, and the resulting stories really made the shit hit the fan.  This expose` led to the Knapp Commission enquiry into Police Corruption.  A film was made in 1973 with Al Pacino and a TV series in 1978 with David Birney.  Author Peter Maas wrote the story of Serpico`s fight against official indifference.

    David Greenberg & Robert Hantz started their Police careers in 1968, and very quickly amassed many arrests.  They were taking down pushers and suppliers so much that hits were placed on them which they averted, and earned the monickers of Batman & Robin.  Eventually, they made detectives, but were always running into bureaucratic problems.  A film was made about them in 1974 starring Ron Leibman & David Selby.  However, things did not carry on very well for them.  Bob hantz was dismissed from the force after a couple of marijuana cigarettes were found in his possession, and Dave Greenberg has been jailed twice for white collar crimes.  Two books were written about them; the first by Hank Whittemore, the second by Greenberg.  Whittemore has been accused of embroidering some of the stories to make them more exciting than they actually were.  A trait we see in criminals memoirs!!