Cop, Grandmaster, Ninja, Wacko by Amos Poe

BOMB 31 Spring 1990
031 Spring 1990
31 Poe Homepage

I. John the Cop.

“I don’t bullshit about what I did. I was a fucking cop, alright. I don’t give a fuck about what anybody says about me. Crazy, unorthodox. I took an oath and I said this is my public, the tax payers pay my fucking salary and I’m going to do my fucking job to protect them. And I did it. The only thing is I just never read the patrol guide. It was written in some language I didn’t understand. I read ‘John The Cop’s Patrol Guide.’ And it said, if I was them, what would I do and then figured out what they were going to do and then said now I’m not John the Cop, I’m a Ninja and I’m going to do it this fucking way. And if they catch me, fuck them. Let them lock me up, throw me off the job or do whatever they gonna do. But they never caught me. Fuck them. And they wanted to. Internal Affairs. They would have fucking loved to get their fucking fangs into me. Because I was getting too much publicity because I was a fucking vigilante and that bothered the politicians and the high powers that be in this department. Yeah, Mayor Koch. I met him a few times. He’s gonna open a lollipop factory now, call it, ‘Koch Suckers’ … When Lindsey was mayor … I could tell you about Lindsey. Forget about it. I was a rookie. I mean I actually got the first civilian complaint for brutality on this job, too, in 1964, when the review board went in. I was involved in a riot. Pulled out of a line of about 11 men and got the first civilian complaint from the City of New York for brutality of which I beat and I still have the letter that they sent, exoneratin’ me. I was accused of kicking a pregnant woman in the cunt. I was accused of shooting into a van with 17 prisoners but nobody got injured and there’s no bullet marks in the van according to ballistics and I was accused of beating at least 50 people over the head with a night stick which I never carried. And the way I beat the case was I brought in three witnesses. Black kids. And the reason I brought them in is because they came up to me and said, ‘how come you were the only cop without a night stick?’ I said, ‘you saw that?’ They said yes and I said give me your names and addresses. Two years later, I brought them in and they were black kids and they testified and I was exonerated. But I never carried a night stick. Yes. I could have kicked her in the cunt. Yes. I did draw my revolver. A guy was out the window ready to drop a fucking garbage can on another cop. I drew my revolver, I cocked it and I said, if you drop it I’m going to blow your fucking brains out. He pulled it in the window, closed the window. I uncocked and holstered my gun. Yes sir I did this and yes sir I did that. And like I told the review board, if I was a citizen walking down the street and five guys jumped me and I picked up a bat and I fucking totally demolished them in self-defense, are you tellin’ me as a cop, here I am with 16 stitches in my hand, I’m involved in a fucking riot, I’m getting fucking thrown at with bricks, I’m getting bottles thrown at me. I’m a fucking target. Somebody cuts me with a fucking blade and I’m not supposed to defend myself? Take the job and stick it up your fucking ass. Mayor Lindsey, he was there at a Black Muslim meeting telling them that he was going to suspend the cops involved in the incident, etcetera, etcetera. It would be the first case where he would suspend them without pay and everything else and I sort of didn’t like that so I gave his fucking limo a double parking ticket and when he came out and he started shaking hands with all the police officers, how you doin’, I’m Mayor Lindsey, like nobody knew who the fuck he was. When he got to the end of the line, he put his hand out and I said, ‘Your Honor, I do not work for you. I do not like you. You are an elected city flunkie. I took a test to get my job and I’m the fucking cop that got the complaint that you’re talking about suspending and I’m not fucking shaking hands with you. Go fuck yourself.’ And they took my name and number and two weeks later I got promoted. And that was a set-up. You want to hear a set-up? I got promoted, this was before the Knapp Commission, into plain clothes, which was the hottest detail in the city of New York to get into, but everybody was corrupt making money. And without wantin’ it, without askin’ for it, right after that incident, I got promoted into plain clothes. Why do you think I got promoted? I could tell you. Put him into the fucking unit, let them make him corrupt. Make him dirty. We’ll set him up and we’ll catch him. We’ll lock him up for bribery and that’s the Mayor’s revenge. So, John the Cop, in plain clothes with Serpico as my partner for two months in the Pussy Posse in Manhattan, never took a fucking dime from anybody. Wouldn’t even take a free fucking cup of coffee and they couldn’t fucking get me. The ‘Pussy Posse’ is when you go out on prostitutes. Serpico was my partner. That rat cocksucker. Not rat cocksucker because of what he did with the job, rat cocksucker because with what he got away with. Because he was a fucking thief just like everybody else. And they gave him immunity and he turned on everybody. A little fuck. Fat fuck. Five foot eight about two hunnert and fifty pounds with cut down shorts. Friar’s boots, a tank top and a button that said I am a hippie-plain-clothesman. I’m taking-off pimps with loaded fucking guns and I ain’t got no back-up because that fat prick ain’t around taking my back. Cocksucker! He had a reputation on the job for being a faggot. The movie got it all wrong. When did Serpico dress like a Rabbi and do all them things? Give me a fucking break. A Rabbi! All that shit … Serpico taking down two detectives in the squadroom and sticks a loaded .45 to their heads. That rat motherfucker was afraid of himself. They say he was a karate blackbelt. Fuck that shit! Serpico took fucking ballet lessons. That’s the extent of his kicking power. But I respect him for one thing. When he went to the Knapp Commission, finally, when it was all over, and he testified, he cleaned this motherfucking city up like nobody’s business. Because this city was so fucking corrupt, it was unreal. Everybody and his motherfucking brother was on the take, from the lowest uniform, to the highest chief. And Serpico cleaned the shit out. True—they didn’t lock up a lot of guys but he put the fear of God into everybody. Everybody became honest. And if I tell you everybody became honest … do you know what a reformed thief is? Very dangerous guy. Let me tell you, I met a lieutenant working Internal Affairs, that when I was in plain clothes, he was the biggest fucking thief on the job as a sergeant. Now, he’s in Internal Affairs, investigating crooked cops. I mean I could tell you things that would stand your fucking head up.”

to be continued

Amos Poe is currently working on a book and a screenplay based on the exploits, career, and life of John Maniel.

Subway Riders: Amos Poe by Sarah Charlesworth
Poe 03
Technologies Are Not Neutral: Theo Anthony Interviewed by Conor Williams
A young white boy wearing solar protective glasses looks up at the solar eclipse while holding a popsicle. He sits among a swath of empty, yellow, plastic stadium seating which fill the frame of the image.

Investigating the bias of vision, unnerving advances in surveillance, and the sociopolitical consequences of a changing digital landscape.

Protest Drawings by Steve Mumford
Cb7350203D7140Ba66Bb84B983D5398D Bw
Jason Osder by Pamela Cohn
Let The Fire Burn

Filmmaker Jason Osder discusses his documentaryLet the Fire Burn, an investigation into the 1985 bombing of the MOVE collective in Philadelphia.

Originally published in

BOMB 31, Spring 1990

Featuring interviews with Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nick Cave, Joyce Carol Oates, Anton Furst, Tony Spiridakis, Larry Sultan, Liza Béar, Sally Beers, John Steppling, Lisa Hoke, Véra Belmont, Leonard Shapiro, and Christopher Brown.

Read the issue
031 Spring 1990