The son of two NYPD cops, Joseph Crystal was put in charge of his police academy cadet class on day one.
“Being a cop was all I ever wanted to do,” Crystal said in an email interview withPhotography is Not a Crime. “A dream come true.”
In November 2012, Detective Crystal found a dead rat placed under his car’s windshield wiper.
Three months earlier, Crystal came forward and told prosecutors he had observed a fellow officer brutally beating a man who had already been detained.
Crystal resigned from the Baltimore police force last August after two years of harassment from fellow officers and his own supervisors.
During an October 2011 arrest, officers chased a man suspected of carrying drugs and found him after he kicked in the back door of a woman’s house to hide. The woman called the police, and her boyfriend, an off-duty officer named Anthony Williams. After the police had already apprehended the suspect and put him in a van, the police drove the suspect back to the house when Williams arrived. The suspect was then dragged back into the house.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘What the hell?’” Crystal said. “I was baffled…I can hear the assault, I hear the banging. I hear the guy hit the floor. A couple minutes later, they bring the guy out, his shirt’s ripped, he’s having trouble standing. Later on, I found out his ankle was broken. It was obvious not just to any cop but to any person that saw it what had just transpired.”
When Crystal called his sergeant and explained what happened, the sergeant told Crystal, “If you snitch, your career is done. Nobody’s going to work with you.”by