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Meet the dirtiest cop in New York City history. In the 1980s, Michael Dowd patrolled the mean streets of one of the toughest precincts in Brooklyn. He also headed a ruthless criminal network that stole money and drugs, ultimately resulting in the city's biggest ever corruption scandal. Written by
Precinct Seven Five refers to the 75th precinct located in Brooklyn New York which was the location of extraordinary police corruption back in the 1980's. In this decade the streets of New York really were crime addled and the 75th precinct had a reputation as one of the very worst areas of this dangerous city. Cops from the NYPD felt it necessary to pragmatically back each other up in order to survive life on the front line of serious crime; this led to them turning a blind eye to certain practises. This film looks at the extreme end result of this culture. The New York streets at this time were awash with crack cocaine and well organised gangs protected their interests with violence. Entering into this maelstrom was rookie cop Ken Eurell, who was given a partner Michael Dowd, who was an experienced police officer with a reputation for shady practices. At first Eurell was extremely reticent about this partnership but before long he was joining Dowd in a downward spiral of corruption which began with taking bribes, moving on to actual thieving, then protecting the interests of a big league drug dealer, leading onto to dealing themselves and even winding up with the facilitation of murder. It's an incredible story of cops bowing to temptation in a pretty bad way and is an alarming example of the police acting like gangsters.
Starting with footage of Dowd answering questions at a commission, the story intermittently returns to this as he gives very candid answers while we go back to the start of the story and work our way forward through the 80's and gradually learn about the increasing levels of corruption this group of cops let themselves become party to. It's a fascinating tale, very well told; including some disturbing crime photographs. The level of danger on the streets of Brooklyn really comes through in this, with a particularly incredible segment where the cops are actually chased by the criminals! Dowd himself is obviously an interesting character for the very fact that he got away with such significant levels of corruption for such a long while. His eventual downfall did ultimately lead the NYPD to significantly improve its internal affairs to more pro-actively try to prevent such wrong-doing; whether or not it has been successful in this I really have no idea. But whatever the case, this is a very good and eye opening documentary about a bad chapter in American law enforcement.
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