The Secret Files

by Michael Hayes

An unprecedented breakdown of the NYPD’s powerful network of police unions, pro-police lawyers, and top brass who work relentlessly to shield police officers from any real accountability

In 2018, reporter Michael Hayes uncovered a major story about how the NYPD was not only turning a blind eye to police misconduct, but also allowing hundreds of officers with severe misconduct charges to remain on the force. In the aftermath of that story, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to reform the department only to abandon his plans.

While de Blasio may have suffered a political setback, it’s New Yorkers who are the true victims of this failure to deliver accountability and transparency. The state has a law that specifically prevents the public from learning about concealed police records. New Yorkers are increasingly distrustful of the police after witnessing their loved ones being targeted, brutalized, and murdered with near impunity.

Hayes takes readers inside decades of police corruption and controversial laws, chronicling the stories of the families and activists who have had enough. He makes a compelling case for the limits of reform in the aftermath of the major Black Lives Matter rallies following the murder of George Floyd and growing calls to defund the police.

Michael Hayes is a journalist whose work has appeared in ProPublica, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, The Appeal, and elsewhere. He has reported America’s largest police department, the NYPD, for over five years.