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The 5 Most Brazen Police Scandals In American History

“Protect and serve.” Remember this motto? Millions of cops all over the world are saying it, but few actually act on it. The police are probably one of the oldest institutions in the entire world. Although it had many forms in the past, the police are still the police, which is supposed to be the thing that protects the citizens and applies the law.

However, it turned out to be one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. From police officers that turned out to be drug kingpins to one who even became a prolific serial killer, here are the most corrupt police officers in entire American history.

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Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito – “Maffia Cops” who were also Hitmen for the Mob

Between 1986 and 1990, two NYPD officers known as Stephen Caracappa and his partner Louis Eppolito were responsible for committing more than eight murders for the famous Lucchese crime family. They were bribed with $375,000 to leak certain information and take out mob enemies.

The two men worked for the NYPD’s Organized Crime Homicide Unit in Brooklyn. However, many years later, it has been found out that Eppolito was in fact related to various prominent crime family members. Naturally, he didn’t say a word when he applied.

At the time, they were collaborating with the Lucchese family’s boss, known as Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso. Casso was the one that sent them to track down and murder some of the most relevant members of rival families.

However, they didn’t stop at mobsters: they also murdered a diamond dealer, a painters’ union leader, and a man who was suspected of leaking all sorts of mob secrets to law enforcement.

Everything went down for the two police officers the minute Casso got arrested (because of all the mid-90s crackdowns that were harming the crime family that started to become useful to the NYPD police). Casso turned out to be a poor choice of friend, as he immediately reported Caracappa and Eppolito’s involvement.

Jon Burge- The Chicago Commander who tortured his way into false confessions from over 100 people

In 1970, a young Jon Burge would come back from Vietnam, joining the Chicago Police Department. He was six-foot-two and 210 pounds, which made him a big man, no matter the standards. He was awarded a Bronze Star for rescuing comrades in danger back in Vietnam, but his early actions wouldn’t be the ones to define his career.

Burge soon became famous for his “aggressive interrogation tactics”, tactics that could easily fall into the sadistic realm. In twenty-something years of activity, Burge and his colleagues extracted various confessions from over 100 people by shocking them with cattle prods or shoving guns in their mouths as they pretend to play Russian roulette.

Even more, the wide majority of suspects they tortured were black. Burge was eventually fired from the police force in 1993. However, he was never prosecuted for torture, as the statute of limitations expired. Burge was finally convicted on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2010, as he denied having inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on prisoners in his custody.

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Rafael Pérez- The dirty cop who stole $800,000 in co*aine and inspired “Training Day”

In 1995, Rafael Pérez rapidly earned the reputation of an aggressive officer who kept his ear closer to the ground as an important member of LAPD’s Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums. As a young officer, he felt a certain rush of adrenaline when he went undercover, buying all sorts of dr*gs from street dealers, only to put them behind bars.

He was a dedicated man, very good at his job, and he loved it, maybe a little too much. As he was working only night shifts and he barely had any supervision, he felt completely untouchable, which in the end, it made him arrogant.

Perez and his partner Nino Durden shot and framed a 19-year-old unarmed kid, who was also a gang member. The shooting left him completely paralyzed from the waist down. During Ovando’s trial, Perez and Durden shamefully lied, stating that the kid attempted to kill them in an abandoned apartment.

However, the building wasn’t abandoned, as the teenager lived there, on the same floor as the observation post that Perez and Duden set up. Even if the kid insisted he was fully innocent, he was sentenced to 23 years of prison.

Robert Smith – The racist police officer who was sentenced to eight years for bribery and dr*g schemes

Robert Smith was definitely never subtle about his mistakes in the New York Police Department. He even called himself “one of the most corrupt cops in the 105”. He retired from his duty in 2020 at only 45 years old, but by that time, he already took $20,000 in bribes for scamming car crash victims, alongside two other cops.

Even more, they also stole all the data of those car crash victims, giving it away to third parties who went on and sold the info to physical therapy businesses. They sold the information of more than 100 people and collected over $7,000 in cash kickbacks in only a couple of months in 2020.

But Smith did more than just that. According to a document released by the Eastern New York District Attorney’s Office, right after he retired, Smith arranged various meetings with two undercover officers that were posing as dr*g dealers.

He showed interest in trafficking narcotics, telling them that he would carry his gun and even his retired NYPD ID while doing it. Then, he met with another undercover cop who gave him what Smith believed to be a kilogram of her*in, which he had to deliver to a fourth undercover officer in Queens and sell it for $1,200 cash. However, the feds eventually busted him and two more NYPD officers.

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Wayne Jenkins – The corrupt cop behind Baltimore’s gun trace task force and the inspiration for “We Own This City”

Wayne Jenkins has been some kind of superstar cop. Back in 2015, he was the best cop in the Baltimore Police Department. One year later, he became the leader of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF). He and his colleagues were seen as the best cops in Baltimore.

One of his supervisors even went on to say that Jenkins and his colleagues “have a work ethic that is beyond reproach.” Even if the homicide rate had been on the constant rise in the city since 2011, Men’s Health reported that the city saw a more rapid increase in shooting deaths. Jenkin’s police force became increasingly cautious when it came to stops and arrests, even turning a blind eye to most crimes in the city.

Jenkins’s team seemed to be a beacon of light at the time. On March 1, 2017, Jenkins and his team entered the Baltimore PD’s Internal Affairs building. They were expecting to solve a minor complaint about a damaged vehicle.

However, they were greeted instead by an FBI SWAT team who rapidly put all men in handcuffs. As it turns out, the FBI had conducted a long investigation on the team, gathering a mountain of evidence about how the officers had been stealing from innocent citizens, filing for overtime hours they never worked, and even worse, stealing drugs and selling illegal guns on the streets.

You probably found this article interesting. If so, then we also recommend reading: 9 Progressive Things Applied by History’s Worst Monsters


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One Response

  1. Very interesting and disappointed about the police. I’m wondering why in most stories talked about drugs there was a “*” in place of a letter? 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

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