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OpinionColumnistsLeonard Levitt

Reporter Graham Rayman unyielding on documents

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on March 5, 2014 that the city was dropped a legal challenge to a city law that allows people to sue individual police officers for racial profiling. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and city Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter seem less sympathetic to the concerns of reporters than to the victims of police abuse.

Take former Newsday and Village Voice reporter Graham Rayman, who has written a book on police whistle-blower Adrian Schoolcraft.

Schoolcraft was the cop who claimed in 2009 that commanders in his Brooklyn precinct had downgraded crimes to make it appear that their precinct was safer than it actually was -- a claim the department belatedly confirmed.

Schoolcraft claimed in a $50-million lawsuit against the city, the police forced him into the psychiatric ward of Jamaica Hospital, where he was kept for five days against his will.

Schoolcraft wrote a 10-page account of his hospital stay, which Rayman had access to and which the city now wants. Rayman refuses to give officials the documents.

The city asked a federal judge last week to compel Rayman to provide them.

Rayman notes that the police department has never explained why it forced Schoolcraft into the hospital. "The city has sealed everything. They have even issued a special gag order that doesn't allow Schoolcraft to see his case file," he said.

"It's very much in the public interest for journalists to defend newsgathering from government overreach. The city should always be challenged when it uses subpoena power against a journalist. This is not a matter of national security. This is an employment dispute."


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