“It’s no secret that if you go against the code of silence, and you report corruption, it will ruin your career,” Shannon Spalding, whistleblower officer, Chicago PD.
Punta Gorda, FL -- It is no question that if fellow officers blow the whistle on their peers for breaking the law, they will be shunned, and their careers will be over.
The blue code of silence, as our friend and former Baltimore cop, Joe Crystal has shown us, is not to be broken. Crystal attempted to expose an officer who beat a handcuffed man and was subsequently threatened and his career ruined.
The Free Thought Project has worked with many cops and former cops whose careers have been ruined after they exposed corruption in their departments. However, the story you are about to read is certainly one of the worst.
Corrections officer, John Pisciotta, had been on the job at the Charlotte Correctional Institution for 3 1/2 years. He was no stranger to the despicable abuse perpetrated by his coworkers on a daily basis.
When his boss, Capt. Scott Anderson told him to do a cell extraction of an elderly mentally ill black man, Kelly Bradley, who'd placed his mattress up against his cell door, Pisciotta became nervous. He knew that officer William Hamilton Wilson, who had a brutal history, was going to be on the extraction team.
“This inmate was cowering under a blanket in the corner of his cell,” Pisciotta recalled in an interview this week with the Miami Herald. “He was an older man, very frail and mentally ill. He wasn’t trying to fight anybody. He was just scared. He was no threat to anyone.”
But not being a threat was of no concern to officer Wilson, who liked to sadistically inflict pain upon restrained inmates.
After Bradley was cuffed and shackled, and posed zero threat to the officers, Wilson dug his finger into the man's eye socket so hard that he literally popped his eyeball from his skull.
As this mentally ill old man lay bleeding with his eyeball dangling onto his cheek, the officers explained to Capt. Anderson that no one saw anything, no one heard anything, and no one knew why Bradley's eyeball was hanging by a thread.
All of the evidence, including the glove worn by Wilson and used to pop out Bradley's eye, was destroyed.
Pisciotta could not handle seeing this abuse and then watching it be swept under the rug as if nothing happened. He had to expose this madness.
“I knew once I did the right thing, and I stepped forward...my career would be over,” Pisciotta told a jury during Wilson’s 2009 federal criminal trial. “It’s something you don’t do. You don’t go against other officers. Because my life has been a living hell ever since.’’
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After Pisciotta had hinted that he was going to turn in Wilson for his torturous actions, the entire department set out to ruin his life.
According to the Miami Herald,
On the same day that he gave a taped statement to an investigator with the DOC Inspector General’s Office, the harassment began, Pisciotta said.
It started with officers shunning him, then turned into threats and intimidation, according to his civil court complaint. A union representative warned him: “It’s going to be rough for you now.”
On June 6, 2008, Wilson was arrested on charges of aggravated battery. Wilson’s arrest affidavit — which described Pisciotta’s role as a witness — was sent to the email accounts of 19 different officers. Two weeks later, “Coward’’ was sprayed in black across the side of Pisciotta’s home. His car’s fender was damaged and its transmission wires were cut.
These ignorant and sadistic sociopaths had the nerve to call Pisciotta a coward, despite the extreme courage he showed in doing what was right.
His fellow officers then banded together, fabricating a story of how Pisciotta assaulted an inmate. Hours after Wilson was sentenced, Pisciotta was fired for a crime he did not commit.
According to the Miami Herald, Pisciotta complained to the Florida Commission on Human Relations, which investigates the complaints of whistleblowers who feel they were retaliated against. It found that the allegation against Pisciotta was false and that he was set up by his fellow officers.
However, this was not enough to get him his job back.
Pisciotta and his wife were forced to sell everything they owned and moved to Vermont where he would become a farmer.
As for the officers who were involved in participating in brutality, covering up torture, and framing their coworker, they have all been receiving their scheduled promotions as normal.
The "bad apple" analogy is impossible to apply to this situation as the entire bunch was bad, and there was only one "good apple." Sadly, as is the case the majority of the time, the one person with courage and a sense of justice in this law enforcement apparatus, was swiftly and belligerently ousted with extreme prejudice.
What happens when there are no more good apples?
h/t Julie K. Brown