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NYPD honors whistleblower Frank Serpico 50 years later

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 50 years after Frank Serpico testified about endemic corruption in the New York Police Department, the department finally recognized his service and injury in the line of duty with an official certificate and inscribed medal of honor.

The former undercover detective, 85, received the honor in the mail Thursday, the New York Daily News reported.

Serpico testified in December 1971 to a panel appointed by Mayor John Lindsay to investigate police corruption, breaking the “blue wall of silence,” the protection that fellow officers sometimes give each

other, such as refusing to testify.
Al Pacino went on to portray him in the hit 1973 movie “Serpico,” and his story

is also relayed in a book by Peter Maas. Serpico was shot in the face during a drug arrest in Brooklyn in 1971 months before he testified and has maintained that the other officers he was with never

made a call for an “officer down.”
While the department gave Serpico a medal recognizing his injury in 1972, it was handed over without ceremony or the accompanying certificate, he told the

In recent years, the department has

awarded medals to recipients at annual large public events.

Mayor Eric Adams responded to the coverage, saying Serpico’s “bravery inspired my law enforcement career. Frank — we’re going to make sure you get your medal.”

He has continued to speak out against corruption and abuse by the police since his retirement in 1972 and says he has supported and listened to other whistleblowers over the years, including those who testified about the now- terminated stop-and-frisk policy.

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