Episode No. 24 Author Interview
Date: June 4, 2008
Notes: an interview with Joe Sanchez a former NYPD police officer and the author of Latin Blues:
A Tale of Police Omerta from the NYPD and A Tale of the Enemy Within.
In 1965, Joe Sanchez
was drafted into the United States Army, at the age of 18. On his twentieth birthday, he found himself
with the First Air Cavalry Air Mobile Division deployed near the village of Phantiet in South Vietnam. On
that day, his unit was engaged in a firefight with Viet Cong. Joe Sanchez and three of his comrades were
wounded by a grenade during that firefight.
After discharge, Joe Sanchez served three years as a police
officer with the New York Port Authority Police Department. He then applied for, and was accepted, as a
police officer for the New York City Police Department. Joe Sanchez battled crime on the streets of New
York, not realizing the most vicious enemy was within the NYPD.
In October of 1983,
Joe Sanchez was indicted by a Special and Extraordinary Grand Jury in Manhattan for one count of Burglary in the First Degree;
one count of Grand Larceny in the first Degree; one count of Grand Larceny in the second Degree; six counts of Grand larceny
in the Third Degree; and, one count of assault in the Third Degree. Joe Sanchez would ultimately be exonerated
of the charges because the true betrayal wasn’t Joe’s, it was his enemies within the NYPD that had set him up.
For a time, Joe Sanchez
became a letter carrier and then reentered the criminal justice field as a correctional officer serving in both Sing Sing
and Coxsackie State Prisons. If you ask Joe Sanchez, he will tell you, “It's a true story. I've been trying to tell
it for a long time. It's my story, but not mine alone. It is also the story of those who lived and died alongside me, in Viet
Nam and in that other battle, for justice and safety under the shield of the law; that is fought daily in the streets of every
big city by every honest cop. In this case, the city is the Naked City, and the cop [namely, me] is a Latino. And the battle
is neither for the civilians alone, nor just against the bad guys in the street. Some times the bad guys are in the Department.
And sometimes the people who need protection are the honest cops.”
Joe Sanchez is the author of Latin Blues: A Tale of Police Omerta from the NYPD and A Tale
of the Enemy Within.