It happened here

Photo: Nick Himmel

The truth hurts, and sometimes, it can almost get you killed. That’s what Frank Serpico learned while exposing corruption in the NYPD. In 1970, after failing to convince his superiors to take action against bribery and kickbacks in the department, Serpico went public with his allegations, resulting in a front-page story in The New York Times and, later, the creation of the Knapp Commission to look into the charges. Serpico’s whistle-blowing, however, nearly got him blown away. In February 1971, during a drug bust in Williamsburg, he was shot in the face while pushing his way into 778 Driggs Avenue. The two officers backing him up never came to his aid or called for an ambulance, leading many to believe that he’d been set up. Serpico survived, though, retiring from the force in 1972 with the Medal of Honor. His experience soon became fodder for a best-seller and the 1973 movie starring Al Pacino.—Daniel Derouchie