This past January, John Rossi, owner of Lowen’s Pharmacy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn killed himself in the wake of a steroid probe. As the investigation uncovered, some of the customers purchasing steroids at his pharmacy were NYC police officers. The question of whether multimillionaire baseball superstars like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte or Jason Giambi are on the juice becomes pretty meaningless by comparison to how many members of the NYPD – or members of police forces around the country, or even around the world – may be addled from steroid abuse and suffering from “roid rage.” With this in mind, we uncovered a list of potential juicers whose possible steroid abuse may have proven fatal to several innocent civilians.
- Justin Volpe, the NYC cop who infamously sodomized Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a broomstick. Odds of being a juicer: high. Volpe was a mohawk-wearing, swaggering presence in the station house, and his behavior is consistent with roid rage.
- Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy, the team of NYPD undercover officers who may have been partying with cocaine in the minutes before they showered innocent African immigrant Amadou Diallo with a hail of bullets, 41 of which struck and killed him. Odds of being on the juice: pretty high. Roid rage causes extended, unexpected outbursts of violence and is a frequent “pathway” to the abuse of other substances, as the death of baseball star Ken Caminiti demonstrated.
- Indicted but acquitted NYPD officers John Kostick, Anthony Piscola and Henry Boerner, who were initially charged in the murder of graffiti artist Michael Stewart, whom they arrested in the 14th St. L subway station in September of 1983. Odds of being juicers: slim, since this was 1983. But steroids were available in those days.
- NYPD officer Anthony Kianka, indicted in the strangling death of Dane Kemp of Brooklyn in 1990 following an arrest (the indictment was later dismissed). Odds of juicing: a little better. Steroids were just starting to get popular around the time Kemp was murdered.
- NYPD officer Anthony Paparella, who was acquitted of strangling Frederico Pereira of Queens in 1991. Odds of juicing: even better, considering the violence of this particular crime.
- NYPD officer Francis Livoti, who was convicted of asphyxiating innocent Anthony Baez with a chokehold in 1994. Odds of juicing: almost 100%. Livoti was five foot ten and 170 pounds; his victim was several inches taller and almost fifty pounds heavier. Only steroids give people the kind of superhuman strength it takes to commit a violent murder like this.
- Donald Brown and Gregg Gerson, the NYPD officers who escaped charges of killing suspect Ernest Sayon the same year. Odds of juicing: less, but remember, this was when the steroid era was just getting started in baseball.
- Atlanta undercover narcotics investigators Gregg Junnier and Jason R. Smith, who in a classic case of miscarried justice were allowed to plead guilty to “infringing the civil rights” of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, whom they gunned down after breaking down her door without a warrant in the middle of the night. Odds of juicing: high. It has been estimated the one in three high school football players in the southern US is on steroids, so, extrapolating that, it isn’t a stretch to assume that a similar contingent of southern police officers may be on the juice.
- Officer Don Falks, who escaped murder charges after admitting to shooting 17-year-old Daniel Castillo in the face in another no-knock drug raid in the middle of the night in Wharton, Texas. Odds of juicing: same.
- NYPD detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper, currently on trial in the shooting death of unarmed Sean Bell and the near-fatal shooting of the passengers in his car last year. Odds of juicing: same. Bullets were flying all over the place. At least one person here was really pumped up, possibly because of steroids.
Drug testing in baseball? Sure, why not. That way we can keep a handful of juicers out of the Hall of Fame and Roger Maris’ hallowed home run record will be left intact. But how about football? The 800-pound gorilla in this room is that virtually EVERYONE in the NFL is on steroids or human growth hormone or something equally maddening (just ask Reggie White. Oh yeah, you can’t – he’s dead). And while we shouldn’t ride rampant over the First Amendment rights of police officers, we also ought to devise a procedure that would severely discourage and punish those who are supposed to protect and serve but instead go on the juice and ride rampant over our rights, with deadly results.