When I was a rookie cop back in 1982, I was assigned to the 13th Pct. in Manhattan. My first tour happen to be a Tuesday into Wednesday midnight shift. Roll call partnered me in radio car with a real old timer in the command. Police Officer Charlie Hauck was a grey haired, 35 year veteran of the NYPD. All of that time he had spent on patrol in the bag assigned to the 13th Pct.
Charlie was a man of few words. “I do all the driving“......”Don’t touch the radio.” This was a typical keep your eyes open and your mouth shut ride. He would ride around, (keeping his cop hat on) while pointing things out in terse statements. “SRO Hotel, hookers and junkies,” he would say, nodding toward an old dumpy building on East 28th Street. “Madison Square Park, homos and he/shes cruise here.” That was my introductory tour of the precinct.
After a few months of being tested by the other old hair bag cops, I guess I passed when they realized I was not a “rat.” I saw things that were not exactly kosher, and I kept my mouth shut.
One night I was working with another old timer, it was a quiet 4pm to 12am shift on a Thursday evening. Over the radio we heard “13 Adam - 10-2”; which meant sector Adam was directed to report to the Station House. We rode around with no reaction from my partner.
Every 20 minutes or so, the call came over. Each RMP sector car in order had to “10-2 the command.” When it was our turn, we walked in to the station house and the Desk Officer nodded to the cells, one flight below the main floor. “Let’s go, kid” my stoic partner said as he led the way to the stairs down to the cells.
As we entered the poorly lit, dank, urine smelling cell area there was a huge twenty something year old white male cuffed from behind to a chair. The Sergeant said, “Frankie, this is Monk, he just got out of Riker’s Island last week.” I had heard about him from Charlie, he was dubbed “Monk the Cop Fighter” because he always fought the cops.
Here’s the skinny on Monk. He lived in a shithole on East 27th Street with his “mother” and “brothers.” His mother was known as Mandy, though she might as well be called Fagan.
Mandy took in abandoned kids, like Monk, and taught them how to steal; from shoplifting and burglary to street muggings. She’s been doing this since before Charlie came to the 13th Pct in the 1950s’. Monk took pride in being a big guy and fighting cops. The original “gentle giant.”
Monk was back in the neighborhood from jail now and the Sergeant wanted him to understand that he had to be a good boy from now on. If do your crimes, we will collar you, but don’t fight the cops was the message. Take the collar like a gentleman.
The Medium (a beating) was the Message (sorry, Marshall McLuhan.)
So that was it, Monk took assorted types of beatings from every cop on Patrol that night. Monk was then dumped, unconscious, eyes swollen closed, missing a few teeth, bloody and broken in a rat infested alley by the East River.
And it worked. He was collared about five times within the next year and DID NOT resist arrest. Even I locked him up for some bullshit disorderly conduct-drunk beef and he acted like a perfect gentleman.
One cold, rainy evening I responded to the FDR Drive for a Motor Vehicle Accident involving a motorcycle. There he was, Monk the Cop Fighter, DOA with his defiant eyes open. Monk was splattered in the road like a bloody Jackson Pollock painting with a stolen motorcycle on top of him. We had to inform Mandy that Monk was dead.
We drove over to the fourth floor walk up shithole Monk called home and knocked on the door. Mandy answered and said “What the fuck do you want?” I took off my hat and told her in my most sincere manner I used for normal people that Monk was dead along with the circumstances of his demise.
She just looked at me and slammed the door.
No emotion, no feeling, she just didn’t give a shit. He was expendable and would soon be replaced.
The sicko cops who worked steady midnights at the 13th Pct. made a makeshift memorial in the broken urinal of the locker room bathroom with dead flowers and condoms with a sign that said, “Rest in Hell Monk the Cop Fighter.”
I guess society does not want to believe it needs people like us to keep the Monks of the world away from people like them.
Ignorance is bliss.
Frankie Rembly has observed the transition of his city from its past wild days to the present sterile bubble that is now New York City. He enjoys the renaissance of creativity in writing for television. He can be reached at email@example.com
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