Documentary Showcasing NYPD’s Dirtiest Drug-Dealing Cops Now on DVD

By Paul Gaita 09/14/15

The Seven Five is a remarkable portrait in self-delusion and grandiose thinking.

The Seven Five
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For every story of law enforcement officials halting the flow of drugs into communities across America, there are often an equal number of cases in which police and drug enforcement agents have crossed the line to sell drugs.

One of the most infamous examples of police corruption and drug trafficking in New York City history is the subject of a new documentaryThe Seven Five. The 2014 film from director Tiller Russell, which will be released on DVD by MPI Home Video on September 15, looks at NYPD officer Michael Dowd who, with members of Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, collaborated with drug dealers to operate a wildly profitable cocaine trafficking business at the height of the city’s crack epidemic in the 1980s.

Dowd, who is featured in both archival footage and current interviews, began his criminal empire by skimming from cash confiscated during drug busts, but soon graduated to not only stealing but selling cocaine with the help of a local dealer, who paid Dowd for information about police raids.

By the mid-1980s, Dowd, his partner, Kenny Eurell, and other members of the 75th Precinct were operating like gangsters—ripping off other dealers, carrying out armed robberies, and kidnapping and netting thousands a week in profits from their activities—while Dowd was earning high marks from his superiors, who described him in a 1987 evaluation as having “good career potential.”

Dowd’s high standing with the NYPD appears to have prevented senior officers from addressing a growing number of complaints, lodged between 1986 and 1992, about his involvement in robberies and drug deals with any seriousness. Eventually, Dowd’s criminal career caught up with him, and in true rise-and-fall fashion, he was arrested in 1992 by Suffolk County officers who had intercepted a phone conversation between him and a known dealer.

The charges against Dowd led to the formation of the Mollen Commission, which led to widespread charges of corruption among senior officials within the police department and its Internal Affairs Division. Dowd, who at the height of his criminal activity was driving a Corvette to work at the precinct while battling his own addiction to cocaine, eventually did 11 years in jail. His participation in The Seven Five is a remarkable portrait in self-delusion and grandiose thinking, in which gangster behavior is somehow translated in loyalty to the badge.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.