Precinct Seven Five (15)

Directed by Tiller Russell
Picturehouse, Liverpool
21st August - 27th August 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a riveting film documentary from start to finish and, to use the old cliche, truth is stranger than fiction in this story of mass corruption among the New York police during the 1980s.

There are many talking heads featured but none of them are boring to listen to.

It produces a very evocative depiction of NY at that time. The city is almost completely bankrupt, leading inevitably to nondescript public services and crime being rife across many sectors of society.

The police corruption was particularly prevalent in Precinct Seven Five, based in the east of NY, notably the antics of Mike Dowd, who later became known as 'The Dirtiest Cop Ever.'

Dowd almost seems to relish recalling his underhand methods to illicitly gain money, especially from robbery scenes, and drugs, as well as sending police cars to protect illegal cash runs He comes across as a lovable scallywag - New York version - but appearances do certainly deceive in his case.

He associated with some of the leading drug barons in east New York, including the ultra-notorious Dominican drug gang known as La Compania.

As punishment for his many and varied serious misdemeanours Dowd probably spent less time imprisoned for his crimes than a black guy would probably get for stealing a bottle of spirits from a liquor store.

Incredibly his patrol partner Ken Eurell, who was implicit in the many crimes Dowd committed, did not serve a day behind bars, because he owned up in court to what the two had been up to.

What was said repeatedly, not only by Dowd, was the police code of silence, whereby no matter the wrongdoing by a fellow police officer no one would 'rat' on him or her. Eurell being the exception!

Thirty years on these forms of lawbreaking within the police force in America and in other countries such as Mexico, Columbia and Iraq, is still prevalent.

NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.

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