Frank Serpico

Law Officer / Speaker
Date Of Birth:
14 April 1936
Place Of Birth:
Brooklyn, New York
Best Known As:
Whistleblowing New York cop who inspired a 1973 movie
Former New York City cop Frank Serpico is famous for his 1971 Knapp Commission testimony which called attention to widespread corruption within the city's police department. Serpico had been a cop since 1960, but had operated outside the widespread system of bribery and kickbacks. His complaints of corruption went unheeded by superiors for years until 1970, when a special commission was formed to investigate the problem. Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission in 1971, earning national headlines and the enmity of his fellow officers. (During an arrest after he testified, Serpico was shot in the face and fellow officers did not come to his assistance.) Serpico retired from the police department and lived abroad for many years, returning to New York in the 1980s. His story was turned into a best-selling book by Peter Maas, which in turn became the hit movie Serpico (1973), starring Al Pacino.
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