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Police Tales From the Naked City

March 11, 1993|LEO SMITH | Like most ex-cops, Richard Goff has his share of tales from the streets. And some of them are even printable. Here are a couple he told us:

In 1972, Detective Goff and his partner, Julius Morton, were confronted by a dope dealer who had just been robbed of all his goods. The thief, said the dealer, had a .38-caliber handgun and an FBI shield. The detectives were immediately interested in the case.

"He was creating havoc with street-level dealers. If he's causing disequilibrium among the street-level dealers, there's going to be a blood bath eventually."

Goff and Morton described the suspect to other police officers. They eventually found a man matching the description in a bar in Spanish Harlem.

"He had a gun and fake FBI credentials, and we also found the dope on him. We charged him with possession of dope and a gun. The gun was a Colt .38 detective special. We took it to ballistics. It looked like a cop gun. I carried the same gun. It just didn't feel right. This had to be a cop gun, not the gun of the average crook. And the numbers were filed. I just didn't have a good feeling about it.

"The folks in ballistics used a dye to retrieve the serial number on the gun. The number was traced to a patrolman living in Brooklyn. I went to the Police Equipment Bureau to have them check the gun. I asked, 'How many other guns have you sold to this guy?' They came up with 12 guns. He's a patrolman in Brooklyn. What's he need 12 guns for?"

From there Goff turned the case over to the district attorney's office. "It turns out this guy had robbers in Brooklyn and was supplying them with guns. . . . They busted this cop and it turned out to be a major robbery ring and there were two homicides. He got a couple of life sentences."


In New York, 1966 or 1967, Goff was on patrol in Times Square for the weekend, a brief shift from his usual Harlem and South Bronx beats. He was in a store on 42nd Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue.

"I'm sitting in a chair drinking some coffee and, of course, eating a doughnut, that's what cops do. It was nighttime, I guess 7 or 8 at night and I was just taking a little break. It's cold out. I'm sitting right there, eating this doughnut, and what today we would call a homeless person comes over. He drops his pants and leans his butt against the glass and starts to have a diarrhea movement.

"Well, a crowd gathers to watch this man complete his ablution. I'm eating a doughnut and this guy's doing this right in front of me and people are pointing at me and laughing, and you know I got to do something about this, OK? So I get up and I go out and I button up my coat. I say, 'Look, buddy, pull your pants up, I'll take you in and you can use the bathroom in the restaurant. I'll get you a cup of coffee and you can go on your way.' "

Goff's offer wasn't taken as he would have liked. Instead of a thank you, he received a barrage of expletives. "The crowd loves this, this is great. So I say to this guy, 'Look, I'll give you another chance. Get your trousers up. You can clean up and use the bathroom.' "

Again, no thanks.

"The crowd's just laughing. So now my machismo, my profession, is at stake. So I said, 'OK, you're under arrest.' So I hook the guy up, call a squad car, and take him into the squad house, it was the 18th Precinct."

The only thing left for Goff to figure out was what to charge the guy with. "I go to the desk officer and say, 'Sarge, let me look at the penal code,' because this was basically only a misdemeanor indecent exposure. So I looked at this penal code and I get to the back. . . . I charged him with dumping noxious fluids on a public thoroughfare. And he gets convicted."

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