They Wished They Were Honest, The Knapp Commission, Police Corruption, and Serpico

Police corruption, prostitution, and illegal gambling are all revealed in this CBS news report from 1971 on the Knapp Commission, which uncovered rampant corruption in the New York Police Department . The chief counsel for the commission was Michael Armstrong, author of They Wished They Were Honest: The Knapp Commission and New York City Police Corruption .

As background, below is an excerpt from the CBS news report, in which an officer discusses how various plainclothes policeman were on the take. The clip also includes a short interview with Xaviera Hollander (aka Madame X and The Happy Hooker)

And for more background, here is the trailer for Serpico (1973), which starred Al Pacino as Frank Serpico. Serpico’s contribution to a New York Times story on the police as well as his testimony to the Knapp Commission revealed the depth of the corruption in the New York City Police Department.

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