Corey Pegues - Policing Law Enforcement From Within in "Once a Cop"

May 25, 2016 - Corey Pegues 05/25/2016 Views: 8,594

Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues examines the systemic racism within law enforcement and calls for stronger police leadership in his book "Once a Cop." (5:14)

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My guest tonight is a retiredNYPD deputy inspector

and author whose new book iscalled Once a Cop.

-Please welcome Corey Pegues.-(applause and cheering)

-♪ -(applause)

-Welcome to the show, sir.-Thanks for having me.

Thank you for being here.You have, uh, written

quite an interesting book,and you have lived

an even more interesting life.

You... were a crack dealer

and a member of a gang,

and then you went on...

to work as a police officerfor the NYPD.

Why didn't you just go into rap?

Were your rhymesnot good enough?

-(laughter)-Well...

it's funny you say that,because I write in the book,

I tried to rap--it only lasted for one day.

-I was horrible.-You were that bad?

-I was that bad.-So you were like...

you were so badthat you were like,

-"I need to becomea police officer"? -Yes.

Let's-let's talkthrough the story.

It really is interesting,because...

you were in a gang,you were on the streets,

you were committing crimes.

You went on to becomea police officer.

And what you realizein the book is,

nobody knew thatyou were a gangster,

'cause you hadnever been caught.

Right. Well,I was arrested one time.

And I admitted that, you know,

-during the investigation.-Yeah.

-But I wasn't convictedof the crime. -Yes.

And that...that was the reason

-you could becomea police officer? -Yes.

Now, everyone has the argument

that criminalsare criminals for life,

a lot of the timeyou can't rehabilitate people.

You went on to becomea police officer

who was actually very successfulin catching criminals,

-because you thought like one.-Yes.

Yeah, well,I-I bucked the trend.

I mean, you know,people want to box people in

-to what they arewhen they're young, -Yeah.

and don't give peopletime for change.

I mean, you know,if you read the book,

it's in three parts:hustler, cop, executive.

If you stopat the first part of the book

and don't read anything else,you're gonna think

this guy's dead or in jail.

But as you go on,you're gonna see

a phenomenal transformationof life.

Obviously, coming outand telling the stories

you've told in this book,you've pointed out, you know,

stories of corruption,you've pointed out

stories of, uh,you know, systemic racism

within the police force itself.

You know, when you're coming outand saying these things now,

you know America hasa big problem with policing

and the way the public perceives policing,

and when you writea book like this,

some of the stories youtalk about make you wonder

why and how is somethingnot happening from the inside.

Police officers,if they are being spat on,

is there no wayto deal with this?

Is there no way to deal with,uh, police who may be agitated,

people who are pulling outtheir guns unnecessarily?

-You were in a very highposition. -Mm-hmm.

How do you see usmoving forward?

How do you see the communitiesmoving to a place

where the police are no longerseen as a separate entity,

where they actuallyare protecting and serving?

Well, let's just be clearthat 90% of police officers,

-95% are good cops,they're good cops. -Yeah.

You know, it's justthis five or ten percent

that we haveto really deal with.

Most cops just come in to workand they do their job every day

and they go home.

So leadership startsat the top down,

and the police, it'sa paramilitary organization.

I'm the boss, I tell youto move, that's what you do.

Okay, so everything... If theleaders are allowing the cops

to be rogue...So, like, I was commander of one

of the most violent precinctsin the city of New York,

and I would address the copsand say,

"Hey, when you go out hereinto my community,

make sure you treat them right."

When I just say thosetwo letters, "my," M and Y,

the cops would look at meand say, "Hey,

the commander's taking ownershipof the community."

So everything is leadership.

It's like if you have kidsand you-- you have four kids--

and you say,"Don't eat no cookies,"

and one eats a cookie,what are you gonna do?

-I break their jaw.-So when a cop...

(laughter)

Am I doing it right?

So if a cop slaps somebody--you know, we always want

to punish the copafter they shoot and kill

-Yeah. -an unarmed person,and then what happens

when you do an investigation?Oh, yeah, 15 complaints,

-Yes.-he did this, he did that.

So why are we not,when they slap somebody,

-you punish them?-Stepping in early

-Exactly.-and doing something about it.

You got to do the stuff early.

If you were to reply to...

people who are critics--some of them police--

who say, it's easy for youto say these things now

because you're out,you're writing a book,

you're tellingall these stories, and...

it feels like you're not onthe side of the police anymore,

how do you replyto that criticism?

When I talk about policing,I'm talking about bad cops.

So if you're a good copand you're doing your job

every single day, my criticismis not directed toward you.

-Yeah. -I'm only talkingabout this little ten percent.

It's not a lot.The entire NYPD isn't bad.

The entire BaltimorePolice Department...

I don't know if we can sayabout Chicago,

with all that stuff going on.

But, um, most of thesepolice departments,

95% of these copsare doing a good job.

But their leadership has to nowmake sure they're taking care

of the rogue police officersand disciplining them,

because if you start firing them

or you start giving themsome heavy sentences,

like 30 vacation days

-Yeah. -or taking themoff patrol and stuff like that,

the message, it resonates.

Well, it's a reallyfascinating book.

It comeswith a lot of controversy,

which makes for a great story.

-Thank you very much for joiningus. -Thanks for having me.

-(cheering, applause) -Once a Cop, available now.

Corey Pegues, everybody.We'll be right back.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)