For Detained Whistle-Blower, a Hospital Bill, Not an Apology

It was not until 6 in the morning on Nov. 1, 2009, that Officer Adrian Schoolcraft finally had access to a telephone. The night before, he had been brought to the psychiatric emergency room at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on the orders of his police bosses.

Since then, his left hand had been cuffed to a gurney and he had been guarded by officers from the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn, where he worked.

He rolled the gurney to the phone and dialed a number, but the call was immediately disconnected by a sergeant, who said, “Hey, I thought perps weren’t allowed to use the phone,” according to a federal lawsuit that Officer Schoolcraft has filed against the city, saying he was punished for whistle-blowing.

Then, the suit charges, six officers pushed Officer Schoolcraft back down on the gurney, and a second handcuff was tightened around his left wrist.

Officer Schoolcraft was not, however, a perp — as the police call someone charged with a crime.

He was a police officer who had accurately reported wrongdoing by his supervisors, and who had left work an hour early the previous day. The very people he implicated — and who knew that he had — decided that his early departure and failure to answer the telephone constituted a psychiatric emergency. Led by a deputy chief and a deputy inspector, officers raided his apartment and brought him in cuffs to the psychiatric emergency room. Throughout the encounter in his home, which was secretly captured on audiotape, Officer Schoolcraft sounds calm, and not like a threat to anyone. His suit claims that the hospitalization, which lasted six days, was meant to shut him up.

The second cuff was fastened so tightly that his hand turned blue, the lawsuit says.

Dressed only in a gown, he spent three days in the psychiatric emergency room, then another three days in a locked ward among seriously disturbed people, with no phone, clock or mirror.

After his father tracked him down and brought him home, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center sent Adrian Schoolcraft a bill for $7,185.