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Officer Serrano’s Hidden Camera

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After he testified and his name appeared in the press, he began receiving calls from cops in other precincts asking for advice. They told him they also had recordings of their bosses, and they wanted help figuring out how to step forward with their own allegations. Serrano began meeting with these cops in out-of-the-way diners. “I told them what to do, how to do it,” he says. “We support each other. Any time they want they call me. We text. We vent.”

On April 14, 24 days after his testimony ended, Serrano learned that he’d been transferred. He was assigned to a precinct in Manhattan North and put on the midnight shift. He knew he should not have been surprised, but he was. He also knew this was a better outcome than many ­others; at least they hadn’t sent him to Far Rockaway or Staten Island, where his commute would be two hours. And there didn’t seem to be nearly as much pressure to summons or stop and frisk people in his new precinct. “It’s just a different world,” he said.

One morning not too long ago, Serrano drove through the streets of the 4-0 on his day off, wearing jeans and sunglasses, a deodorant tree hanging from his rearview mirror, baby car seat in the back. (Fifteen months earlier, his wife had had a baby girl.) On a sidewalk ahead, Serrano spotted two former co-workers standing watch.

“What’s up gentlemen?” he shouted. “Working hard?”

The officers went over to his window. “Coming back to work?” one asked.

“I miss you guys,” Serrano said.

Nobody mentioned the trial or Serrano’s testimony. Instead, the two officers told Serrano how McCormack had just come by and screamed at them. They even sounded slightly envious talking to Serrano about his transfer.

Serrano understood, but he had already discovered a downside to his new precinct: The officers there didn’t seem nearly as tight-knit as the cops at the 4-0, maybe because their jobs weren’t as tough.

“My family is gone, man,” Serrano said. “I don’t know anybody.”

“You get to be home all day and see your kids,” one officer said.

“I’m good with that,” Serrano said. “But I miss my family.”

His former co-workers guffawed, then bid him good-bye, everyone slapping palms. But as Serrano began to drive away, he turned back one last time. “C’mon!” he shouted, leaning out the ­window. “I still love y’all!”


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