June 6, 2006 — I CAN’T speak for the rest of the overflowing courtroom, but every nerve of emotion jangled in me as the loved ones of victims took the stand.
Stolen childhoods, endless heartbreak, rage born of frustration.
I have to be honest – they were accusations I hoped would never be leveled at Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.
Along with a lot of cops I know, I couldn’t grasp it – the nightmare was all gonna go away in a not-guilty verdict, I thought.
It had to be a huge mistake.
But the prosecution was overwhelming, to put it simply.
And now these two disgraces to the badge will claim yet another victim – the reputation of the NYPD.
“Yes, I think there is a stain on the New York City Police Department,” said Michal Greenwald Weinstein, daughter of slain jeweler Israel Greenwald.
“Emotionally, every time a police car drives by, I cringe. Intellectually, of course, I know that all cops are not like those two,” she said
Danielle Lino, daughter of Eddie Lino, who the jury heard was shot dead by Caracappa, told the two fallen cops: “You are an embarrassment to the Police Department.”
Prosecutor Robert Henoch addressed Eppolito and Caracappa: “You lied under the color of the law. You kidnapped under the color of law. You killed under the color of the law.”
For many of us in the courtroom yesterday, it was hard to rid yourself of the fog of reality – two men with impeccable police records exposed as monsters. And as heavy as the pain is for the families of their victims, the hearts of the Finest band of brothers and sisters are also heavy – with shame and anger and sadness.
More sadness: this case will give ammunition to the professional cop-haters, those who turn a blind eye to the continual sacrifice of the NYPD, and bash it every chance they get.
Outside the courthouse there were a few nutcases already yelling, “NYPD rotten to the core.”
Oh, yeah, the pathological anti-coppers will have a field day with this one – and it breaks my heart.
In his statement to the court, Eppolito said: “I was a hell of a cop.”
No, no, no, no, no you weren’t – not like any good cop I know.