Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Suicide of William Marhafer & Corruption in the Schenectady PD

This is part two in a series of random, wide ranging posts on Crime & Punishment in New York State.

Previously, I wrote about the
suicide of Schenectady Police Officer, William Marhafer. What I haven’t written about is that following the publication of my article in The Sunday Gazette, Willie Marhafer‘s mother called me to thank me for writing the article We had a 45 minute conversation, most of it to do with her son.

I don’t feel I have the right to divulge most of the conversation, but there are two things Mrs. Marhafer told me that I believe should be mentioned. First, she told me that her son had already been exonerated of any wrong doing in the investigation into corruption in the Schenectady Police Department, prior to his suicide.

Secondly, one of things that drove Willie Marhafer to commit suicide was that he was torn between what he knew about corruption in the Schenectady Police Department, his moral obligation to reveal it and the traditional police mentality that ostracizes a fellow officer who talks about corrupt cops. The news media, including my own article, made it seem as if Marhafer committed suicide because he was upset over the investigation into his own conduct.

Willie Marhafer was a good cop. He had a brain, he had a heart, he had a conscience. He was as interested in helping people as he was bagging crooks. I tell you this because I am going to write about some bad cops in this series, but I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I think all cops are bad.

As far as corruption in the Schenectady Police Department is concerned, Carl Strock of The Daily Gazette has done a good job covering it over the years.
You can read one of his columns on the subject.

Corruption in the Schenectady Police Department included rewarding informants with cocaine, taking a Black man to a rural road in Glenville and leaving him there without his shoes, off duty cops throwing eggs at vehicles after a stag party, and the use of excessive force in making arrests among other things.

Both The Times-Union and The Daily Gazette did a good job covering what was going on in Schenectady. Most of these articles are no longer available on the internet. You can however, at least read
a list of the headlines that appeared in The Times-Union to get an idea of how extensive the corruption was. (Scroll down on page or so to the special report on Schenectady).

Read the report on corruption in the Schenectady Police Department by the Commission of Investigation of the State of New York. Scroll down to pages 22-23.

Read the
letter from the U.S. Department of Justice to the City of Schenectady, with recommendations for changes in the Schenectady Police Department.

2 Comments:

  • Great, thoughtful post. But, tell me, what's up with the teeny, tiny type you're using in this and the previous two posts. You want I should spring for new specs?

    By Anonymous Lake George Guy, at 12:11 AM  

  • I have been experimenting with difference size fonts because the size I was using was so big. The tiny size looked good on my monitor, but I guess it doesn't on everyone's. I went up a size for today's post. See if that helps. I appreciate your comments.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 1:52 AM  

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