Knapp Commission

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  • New York City Mayor John Lindsay convened this five-member commission, named after its chairman, Whitman Knapp, in 1970 to investigate charges of corruption in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). An undercover officer, Frank Serpico, testified before the commission about corrupt practices in the NYPD, and in his testimony, he distinguished between two types of corrupt officers: the grass eaters and the meat eaters. The grass eaters accounted for most of the corruption in the NYPD, which included small infractions, such as minor forms of bribery. The meat eaters indulged in a more serious form of corruption, involving an active role by NYPD cops in making money illegally, such as bribes obtained through coercion and intimidation. The commission found that widespread corruption existed throughout ...

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