This Week in Allegedly: Ghislaine Maxwell, Goats, and Police Procedurals

What a week.

Sure, we can say that about every week of 2020, but New York City’s courts and crime news over the past seven days included stories about Ghislaine Maxwell and a personal assistant accused of dismembering his boss, as well as an allegedly drunk judge who shoved a cop. See, that’s a lot. We’ve got more details in The Allegedly List. Peggy Gavan’s got another great story involving police and goats for The Allegedly Original—that touches on the origins of modern cop dramas. Enjoy this week’s edition and make sure to subscribe here

  • Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal team asked the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to keep her deposition in a now-settled civil suit under wraps. Maxwell, a longtime friend of Jeffrey Epstein now charged in relation to his sex-trafficking of minor girls, claimed that releasing this sworn testimony could ruin her chances of a fair trial—and solidify a “perjury trap” set by the feds. Via The Guardian US

  • While the number of people detained at New York City jails has declined under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and continues to do so, the amount of inmates locked in solitary confinement has largely held steady.  Since 2017, jails officials have leaned on solitary as a means of punishing approximately the same number of people. In the first half of 2020, approximately 13 percent of 7,200 inmates on Rikers Island had been in solitary at some point, “a much higher percentage so far this year than during the previous three years,” Jan Ransom reports. Via The New York Times

  • Tyrese Haspil, the executive assistant accused of killing his tech CEO boss Fahim Saleh, pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree murder. The 21-year-old also allegedly dismembered Saleh’s lifeless body with an electric saw, in the entrepreneur’s Downtown Manhattan condo. Prosecutors said the evidence against Haspil was “voluminous.” Via New York Daily News

  • The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that prosecutors were increasing efforts to fight gun violence in areas of New York City, by attempting to get around state bail reform laws that make it more likely for gun suspects to remain free pending trial. “Law-abiding citizens should have no reason to fear going about their daily lives,”acting Brooklyn U.S. attorney Seth DuCharme said. According to New York Police Department data, shootings are up 90 percent in 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Via The Washington Post

  • Harold “Heshy” Tischler, a controversial leader of some Orthodox Jews in Borough Park, was released from lockup Monday night and ordered to stay away from the reporter attacked by his supporters at an Oct. 7 demonstration. Tischler was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court for allegedly inciting a riot, and unlawful imprisonment, related to the alleged attack on Jewish Insider reporter Jacob Kornbluh. “Him sitting in prion is a travesty of justice,” his lawyer complained. Via New York Daily News

  • Amy Cooper, who was recorded on a now-viral video calling 911 with the bogus claim that a Black man she encountered in Central Park had threatened her—made a second call alleging that he tried assaulting her, prosecutors said Wednesday. The calls stem from her May 25 exchange with Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper, who started filming Amy after she refused to leash her dog. Amy, who falsely said, “there’s an African American man threatening my life,” is charged with falsely reporting an incident. Via Allegedly  

  • NYPD Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo quit Tuesday, allegedly annoyed by Mayor Bill de Blasio meddling in his management, specifically Covid-19 enforcement. Numerous reports said that de Blasio was trying to micromanage his police work. Fausto was the NYPD’s highest-ranking Latino officer. Via CBS New York

  • Bike thefts have skyrocketed in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic, the NYPD said. There were 4,477 bikes reported stolen between March 1 and Sept 21 of this year—marking a 27 percent spike from the same period of 2019. Meanwhile, there were just 204 arrests for bike larceny. Via New York Post

  • Long Island restaurateur Emilio Branchinelli was accused of bullying and beating a gay employee in full view of other staff, allegedly saying “F—king faggot, I’ll murder you!”—and knocking this employee’s tooth out with a punch. The Emilio’s Pizzeria & Ristorante owner allegedly berated the waiter over wearing the wrong shoes to work. After he left and returned with different kicks, Branchinelli allegedly snapped, claiming those were also the wrong shoes, according to a Brooklyn Federal Court suit filed last Friday. Via New York Post

  • Newly emerged bodycam footage shows New York state Supreme Court judge Mark Grisanti shoving a cop in Buffalo; he mentioned his friendship with the mayor and relationship with law enforcement, then managed to avoid arrest. Grisanti was shirtless and allegedly drunk during the June 22 altercation—which started over a parking dispute with his neighbors. Reporter Frank Runyeon obtained the vid using a Freedom of Information Law request. Via Law 360

The Allegedly Original

Goats And The Modern Cop Drama

By Peggy Gavan

On Nov. 20 1897, two young men from the Upper East Side decided to try their luck stealing some produce from the Harlem Market. 

Founded in 1891, the Harlem Market occupied the city block bounded by 102nd and 103rd Streets, First Avenue, and the East River. It was one of the greatest open-air markets of its time, with hundreds of farm wagons arriving each day from Westchester County and Long Island, many via steam ferry from College Point, Queens, to 99th Street or the Public Service Corporation ferry from Edgewater, NJ, to 125th Street. 

As it was a Friday, the men knew the popular market would be packed with wholesale wagons and retail push-carts. They drove up to the market with a light wagon and targeted a vendor. While the produce owners were looking away, the men picked up a crate of onions, a box of oranges, and a basket of string beans. They loaded the produce into their truck and drove away. 

What they didn’t realize: The basket of beans had a hole in it. As their wagon bounced along, beans rolled out of the basket, off the truck, and onto the ground. 

When the produce owners discovered their loss shortly thereafter, they summoned Bicycle Policeman Daniel J. Fogarty of the 28th Police Precinct, then headquartered on East 104th Street. According to The New York Times, several bystanders said they saw two men near the crime scene, but no one could provide a good description of the thieves. So, how was Policeman Fogarty going to find the produce pilferers? 

Perhaps the small procession of goats following a trail of beans on the ground held the answer.

Fogarty followed the goats on his bicycle, which led him to the wagon and the source of the goats’ feast. He arrested the driver, Joseph Abrams, 26, of 305 East 70th Street, and took him back to the market. While the dealers were identifying their stolen produce, another young man began to protest the arrest. The victims identified this man as Abrams’ accomplice, so Fogarty also arrested him.

The two men were taken to Harlem Police Court, where they were held on what was then pretty stiff bail for stealing some onions, oranges, and beans—$200. 

Gotham’s Famed Bicycle Cop

Policeman Daniel J. Fogarty left his job with the post office to join the New York Police Department on October 18, 1895. During the early years of his career, he was stationed at the East 104th Street police station, where he earned a reputation as a real superhero of East Harlem. The New York press loved writing about his courageous adventures, whether he was being dragged along the ground while trying to stop runaway horses, jumping into the ice-cold river to save drowning victims, or pulling children from harm’s way in the nick of time. (Some accounts of his work can be read here and here.)

According to news reports, Fogarty won eight life-saving medals during his 19 years of service, including a gold Congressional medal for saving a man from drowning in the Harlem River. As one of his friends told the press, Fogarty had “enough medals to make the German Emperor look like a bloomin’ civilian.”

Here’s just a brief summary of some of his more daring rescues, all of which could have provided some great action scenes for a police drama: 

  • January 1896

    Just three months after joining the police department, Fogarty rescued a Roman Catholic priest who had fallen from a pier into the icy Harlem River. Shortly after this incident, he jumped into the East River to save Johnnie Crowe, a little boy who had fallen from his mother’s lap into the East River at the Peck Slip pier. The strong current carried Fogarty and the boy to the Brooklyn Bridge, where a tugboat rescued them.

  • January 1898

    While cycling down First Avenue late one evening, Fogarty heard cries for help coming from the East River near 98th Street. He blew his whistle for help, charged into the icy drink—striking his leg on a spike—and attempted to rescue William O’Toole, a steamship fireman who had allegedly been drinking at a nearby barroom. Hearing the struggle, two other police officers rushed the No. 19 horse car and grabbed the reins from the driver’s hands. With some help from a few passengers, they were able to cut the reins and use them to pull the men from the river. Asked during a court hearing why he thought it was okay for a valuable policeman to risk his life by rescuing a drunk sailor from the river, Fogarty sarcastically noted that his book of rules wasn’t handy, so he just guessed it was the right thing to do.

  • May 1899

    Seeing a wild mustang charging up First Avenue, Fogarty gave chase on his bicycle. Cheered on by hundreds of spectators, he gained on the horse and caught a rope attached to its halter. He was forced to drop the rope at 101st Street in order to save a small boy who stood in their path. According to the story, Fogarty leaned over his bike, picked up the boy by his collar, and carried him out of harm’s way. Without missing a beat, he continued chasing the mustang until he caught him again at 106th Street. The horse was taken to the police stables on East 104th Street.

When he wasn’t saving women, children, and inebriated men, Fogarty was busy volunteering as the first drum major and leader of the department’s new Police Band, which he helped organize in 1903. He and his close friend Colonel John Jacob Astor also worked together in forming the Honor Legion of the NYPD, which was composed of officers who rendered distinguished service in time of great danger. Fogarty and Astor also organized and funded the police department’s Widows and Orphans Relief Fund, which to this day provides aid and assistance to widows, widowers, and eligible dependents of police officers who are killed in the line of duty.

One of the ways Fogarty helped raise money for the relief fund was by writing and directing police dramas, which were performed live at theaters for the benefit of the fund. In 1905, when then-Roundsman Fogarty was commanding the NYPD Theater Squad, he wrote an article suggesting a film be made based on the life of Patrolman Hugh J. Enright, a young officer who was killed in March 1904 during a fight with a burglar on East 55th Street. 

Fogarty was immediately approached by Frederick Freeman Proctor, a well-known theatre and vaudeville circuit manager, who offered to help produce a moving picture based on the policeman’s script. According to Anthony Slide, author of “Early American Cinema,” Police Commissioner William McAdoo liked the idea of including the NYPD in movie scripts:

“The picture idea is an admirable one, particularly if the case of Patrolman Enright was enacted, along with the chasing of the thief, the killing of Enright, the wounding of Patrolman [Joseph] Bachman, and, finally, the capture of the thief. I believe also that the scene of a patrolman rescuing a man or woman from drowning would appeal very strongly to the public and show forcibly the courage and the bravery of the men who make up this force.” 

In July 1914, Fogarty—then a Sergeant assigned to the East 51st Street Station—retired due to a heart condition. That year, Vincent Astor, the son of the late John Jacob Astor, presented Fogarty with a $20,000 building on land belonging to the Astor estate at 149th Street and 8th Avenue. Fogarty, his wife, Anna, and son Harry opened the Screen Theater—what was then called a “moving picture theater”—in October 1914.

Fogarty died at his home at 2585 Marion Avenue in the Bronx on August 13, 1921. Today, the land once occupied by the Harlem Market is the site of the East River Houses, a large public housing development completed in 1941. The former 104th Street station is still standing, only now it’s owned by Hope Community, Inc., a non-profit housing organization founded in 1968 to “develop, revitalize and beautify East Harlem.”