On October 27, 2011, Baltimore police officer Joe Crystal witnessed two fellow cops beating up a drug suspect after the suspect, fleeing from the officers, kicked in the door of a home belonging to another officer’s girlfriend. Faced with the difficult decision of whether to turn in his fellow officers, Crystal felt he had to do the right thing, and reported the officers’ actions to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
As a result, Crystal was labeled a “snitch” and a “rat cop” by many of his fellow officers and subjected to threats and intimidation — including having a dead rat placed on his car’s windshield. Eventually, in 2014 he bowed to the pressure and resigned from the Baltimore PD.
In this exclusive interview, Crystal and The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur discuss:
– Crystal’s background, and how he grew up always wanting to be a cop.
– Working with an officer who could have been the real-life Pryzbylewski from “The Wire.”
– The consequences of turning in his fellow cops.
– The difficulties he’s faced in finding another job.
– The critical difference between police culture in big cities and small towns.
– Why cops are always inclined to protect one another.
– How cop culture and gang culture are similar.
– Whether community policing is a possible solution to the “us vs. them mentality of urban police forces.
– Why police training is an important part of the problem.
– Why he remains hopeful that policing can be improved.
Follow Joe on Twitter: @@Det_JoeCrystal
Follow Cenk on Twitter: @CenkUygur
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