The 75 Pct Corruption Scandal

Epicenter: The NYPD’s 75th precinct became the base for Dowd and Eurell’s criminal activities. They were running a dealer in Suffolk County when they were caught and Eurell was flipped to become an informant

EXCLUSIVE: He stole guns and rolls of cash from gangsters, sold cocaine from drug lords and when asked if he was police or a trafficker said ‘BOTH’ – now ‘New York’s most corrupt cop’ tells of his shame

  • Michael Dowd was caught in separate police and FBI probes into drug dealing
  • The 10-year NYPD veteran became one of its worst-ever corruption cases and was high on cocaine and drunk on vodka when he was busted
  • He tells Daily Mail Online how his life of crime began when he was 23, broke, and tempted by cash when he stopped teenager and took $200 
  • Dowd escalated to protecting drug lords from raids and even running his own dealers – but his partner getting caught brought crime reign to end
  • Now 54, he was jailed for 12 years and will be in new movie-length documentary about a life he calls: ‘Wonderful, sinful and glorious.’

The moment his fist closed on the two hundred dollar bills he knew. At the time he tried to kid himself that it was a one off but, truth be told, he knew that he had crossed the line and there was no turning back.
Michael Dowd was 23. He’d been an NYPD cop in Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct for just two years and already he was jaded, he was broke and he was about to abandon his dream of becoming a good cop for a reality so steeped in crime and excess that it would earn him the title, ‘NYPD’s most corrupt cop.’
He had pulled over a car being driven without plates. The driver was an 18-year old Puerto Rican kid with no registration, no insurance and a bundle of hundred dollar bills in his pockets. To Michael, with $3 in his own pocket, a mortgage to pay and wife and child to support, the picture was ‘all upside down’.
Recalling the incident in an interview with Daily Mail Online, he said: ‘I told him he had $1500 to $2000 in tickets or I suggested that if he bought me a nice lobster lunch I could let him go and with that he promptly took $200 out of his wallet and left it on the back seat.
‘I thought I’ll just do this one thing and see if it could happen. And it happened. I drove away like I was going to get arrested. And I didn’t. I won.’

Now Dowd’s story is the focus of a new movie-length documentary, ‘The Seven Five’, as the 75th Precinct is known by those who worked it. 
Made by director Tiller Russell for IFC films it splices testimony from the key players with the stark reality of the East New York section of Brooklyn three decades ago when it was rife with crime and drugs
It was the Eighties and crack was flooding New York, bringing with it a crime wave that saw more than 100 murders in one year in Dowd’s five square mile precinct – second only to another precinct, the 48th in the Bronx, in homicides.
East New York was a ‘war zone’ according to one of the cops interviewed on screen and the streets a ‘blood bath’.
This was before ‘Broken Windows’ police reforms were brought in by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his first police commissioner, Bill Bratton, which saw the streets swamped with cops, even the most minor offense targeted relentlessly, and the prisons filled.
On his watch, according to Dowd, cops were dissuaded from making drug arrests ‘because they were too expensive for the City to process’.
Dowd’s is a story of lawlessness in the garb of uniform, of cops and robbers with Dowd and his ‘crew’ of brother cops, in particular his one-time partner, Kenny Eurell, playing both roles.
Across eight of the ten and a half years during which Dowd was an NYPD cop he lived a life of escalating crime and excess. He shook down dealers, he took protection money from drug lords,

he planned and took part in armed robberies, he stole from crime scenes – money and drugs – and ultimately he trafficked and dealt drugs himself.

Policing in a war zone: Dowd’s partner Kenny Eurell (above). Both were cops in a precinct which saw 100 homicides in a year in just five square miles and where drug offenses were ignored because they were ‘too expensive for the City to process’

He spent openly and lavishly, owned four properties and a condo in Florida, took trips to Atlantic City and drove a brand new red Corvette to work. It shocked even him that he got away with it for so long.
And when he was finally caught in May 1992 and the truth came spilling out, outrage over his behavior was intensified by the fact that it wasn’t the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau that finally put a stop to him, but Suffolk County Police who caught him and Eurell in their own undercover drug sting.
Dowd’s case and the systemic failure that saw the Internal Affairs Bureau fail to substantiate 16 complaints made against him over the years, exploded into a very public scandal. 
In September 1993, Dowd testified before the Mollen Commission – set up to investigate police corruption in the wake of his case. Asked by the commission if he had considered himself a cop or a drug trafficker he paused, deep in thought, before answering ‘both’.
Today the 54-year-old Dowd is even more frank in his admissions. Speaking shortly before a screening of ‘The Seven Five’ which is being released across the country this month, he said: ‘Life was wonderful. Wonderful, sinful and glorious. I felt like Scarface, only I was a white Irish boy from Long Island.’

Crime scene: Crack had flooded New York and in its wake was ready cash. Dowd and the other members of ‘his crew’ saw easy pickings

Dowd only became a police officer by chance. The third of seven children born to a firefighter father and stay at home mother he was a good student who was advised to consider becoming ‘a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant’.
But he took the police test as well as the firefighter test and, he said, ‘the police test came back first. Simple as that.’
The path was set. Dowd graduated from the Police Academy in 1982 and was immediately assigned to the 75th Precinct – one of the deadliest in the country. 
Nothing in the academy had prepared Dowd for the reality of the streets. He said: ‘The first time somebody calls you “Officer” you’re looking round to find the officer.
‘You learn the walk of someone who has a gun. You learn the eye drift of someone who’s on drugs…It’s a process.’
And part of that process was, according to Dowd, making the decision between ‘vouchering something you find’ – recording and registering cash and possessions found in the course of an arrest – and just taking it.
Dowd’s justification for the first time he decided to take that $200 is that he was feeling ‘unappreciated.’
But the thrill of getting away with it was what kept him coming back for more. The next time an opportunity presented itself to him was, he recalled, a shooting in a drug house. He was the first to arrive on the scene.

Notorious: The epidemic of crime in the 75th Precinct made it the second deadliest in New York, behind a bronx precinct, and saw its officers in constant danger

He said: ‘I show up and I can’t get in the building because the guy’s head is blocking the door. I’m literally walking over his body to get in. Inside you can see his partner – they were young kids – wiping the blood of his best friend off his hands.
‘So as it turns out there’s money and drugs there – a lot. I see a separate stash of about $800. This guy’s not paying attention. So I take it.
‘It was weird. I just put it in my pocket. Then the investigators show up. There’s about five pounds of reefer, $500 of cash. The sergeant goes, ‘Is that it?’ And he looks at me and I felt like he knew. So I took the $800 out of my pocket and I gave it back.
‘I was still at that point of feeling uncomfortable about taking anything.’
Later that night Dowd saw the sergeant at a local bar and approached him. He said: ‘I said to him, “Sarge, when I handed you that money today I took it out of my pocket. What do you think?” He said, “I don’t give a f*** what you do before I get there..and if I happen to get there and you’ve already got something, I didn’t see it.”
‘Bingo! A light went on. Like people do this, you ain’t the only one. It was like I had permission now.’
From then on, he said: ‘I made sure I was first on a crime scene.’
He took bags of money from drug houses, guns and cocaine. At the time a kilo of cocaine was worth $34,000. When he found a stash his first thought was, ‘Pay dirt.’
He said: ‘I did something wrong. We all knew it was wrong, myself especially, but it was an addictive excitement.’
There is still a gleam in Dowd’s eyes today as he relives some of the stories of himself and his ‘crew’ – a band of like minded cops who protected each other in their corrupt exploits. Together they used raid tactics learned at the Academy to stage armed robberies of stores known to front drug dealing.
Then, in September 1986, 13 cops were arrested in the 77th precinct on corruption charges. In the wake of the scandal many of Dowd’s ‘crew’ resigned fearing that they might be next in line for investigation.

Gritty: Covering East New York, the 75th precinct became a ground zero for the lawlessness which came to characterize 1980s New York, before the zero-tolerance policing tactics which cleaned up the city
Danger: An officer carries out a stop in East New York in the 1980s. Crime was rampant and the temptation to become corrupt was too much for Dowd and other officers

Only Dowd gambled that the Department wouldn’t want another scandal on its hands. He felt more, not less, secure in his lifestyle after the 77th fell. He had no fear of being caught. And, for a very long time, his gamble paid off.
The only ‘job’ of which he seems truly ashamed was a robbery called in by a 16-year-old girl. Dowd asked her if there was any money hidden in the house. She told him yes but she didn’t know where her mother kept it. So he asked her to phone her mother, ask her where the savings were and he’d check it for her.
He found $600 stashed and he took it. It was fall 1987 and he had a new partner, Kenny Eurell. Leaving the house in their squad car that day Dowd fished $100 out of his pocket and handed it to Eurell. When Eurell took it Dowd knew he was in.
Dowd and Eurell were only actually partners for a year until Eurell broke his wrist and retired from the force on a disability pension. But their legacy and their business arrangement lasted far longer.

Not content with piecemeal takings Dowd brokered a deal between the cops and a drug baron, Adam Diaz. In return for a down payment of $24,000 and $8000 a week they would tip him off if there were to be raids and protect his drug dealing from the law.
According to Dowd he still considered himself a cop but the reality was that he was working for Diaz while wearing the NYPD uniform.
He was making so much money that, at a time when his pay check was around $600 a week, he often simply forgot to collect it.
He said: ‘My wife [Bonnie] kept telling me to stop. But I couldn’t stop. I loved the extra money so much and I spent it very openly. I thought about getting caught and then I’d dismiss it because I was getting away with it for so long right in front of everybody and I thought none of the cops would give me up.’
That was his greatest miscalculation.

At a time when Dowd thought he was riding high the truth was he was increasingly out of control. He wasn’t just trafficking and selling drugs he was using and he was drinking heavily.
Dowd and Eurell had set up a kid called Harry as a dealer and, unknown to them, Harry had become the target of an undercover drug sting in Suffolk County where the men lived.
On 6 May 1992, eight years after his first ‘take,’ Dowd’s world imploded. Eurell was in the drug house when Suffolk County Police battered down the door and raided the premises.
Dowd was on a shift – drunk on vodka and high having just downed a bump of coke off the dashboard of his patrol car.
 ‘I’m half drunk and high, they empty my pockets and find the cocaine. The guy looks at me and I say, ‘I got a little problem I guess.’ Today he recalls that whole day as ‘surreal’. He had a sense of being followed – of seeing undercover cars at every turn. And as he and his then partner pulled into the precinct and he walked to the door he said: ‘I felt the shadows behind me.’
He said: ‘The desk sergeant points to the door and says, “Go see the captain.” I turn around and see these guys coming up the stairs, their badges out and they say, “Internal Affairs”. They’ve got a piece of paper in their hand and they say, “We’re taking you for a department ordered drug test.” I say, “Okay.”‘
In that moment the overwhelming emotion Dowd felt was, he said, ‘relief’.
He said: ‘I thought, “Okay. Job’s over, kiss it goodbye, the monkey’s off my back.”‘

Later that day Dowd was arrested by Suffolk County officers on charges of drugs conspiracy. As he was cuffed officers searched him and found a bag of cocaine in his pocket.
He recalled: ‘I’m half drunk and high, they empty my pockets and find the cocaine. The guy looks at me and I say, “I got a little problem I guess.” I still thought I could fix it I thought. I still thought I could win.’
But unbeknownst to Dowd or Eurell the FBI had been conducting an ongoing investigation into the drug baron with whom they worked. They were on tape brokering deals, taking payment, selling drugs.

Partners in crime: Adam Diaz (left) was the dealer who was being targeted when Dowd and his partner, Kenny Eurell (right) were caught in an investigation being operated by Suffolk County, New York, officers.

The crew: Walter Yurkiw (right) served two terms in prison after being busted for corruption while Henry ‘Chicky’ Guevara (left) resigned before any action could be taken.

And when confronted with this reality, and the prospect of a Federal case as well as the state case that could see him spend up to 25 years in jail, Eurell did the one thing Dowd thought he never would. He gave him up.
Eurell agreed to wear a wire after he and Dowd were released on bail. As a result the Feds had evidence of an outlandish kidnap and murder plot supposedly hatched by Dowd in one last desperate move and a bid to flee the country.
The plan was to kidnap the wife of a Colombian who owed some dealers money. Dowd and Eurell would kidnap her and hand her over to the Colombians for execution. Dowd would then use his share of the $700,000 payment for the job to flee to Nicaragua.
To this day Dowd denies the murder aspect of the plot and claims that the entire thing was a set-up. But in July 1992, two months after his arrest by Suffolk County, Dowd was arrested by the DEA and NYPD. This time there would be no fixing the situation.
Dowd served 12 years for racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Eurell didn’t spend one day in jail.

Today Dowd says he feels ‘guilt and remorse.’ Certainly he has paid the price for what he did – he struggled for 11 years to find work after his release and is now a mechanical engineer fixing restrooms in an assisted living facility.
But after all those years of reflection, after all that damage done – his marriage collapsed during his prison term – when asked what he thinks was the worst thing he ever did Dowd’s answer is quick and blunt. ‘Get involved with Kenny.’
He hopes that his will serve as a cautionary tale, he said: ‘I never went in planning to be a bad cop. I wanted to be a good cop. I have a dream all the time and I’m wearing uniform and I’m being a good cop. That good cop’s still in me. He just chose the wrong path.’

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