From police officers becoming drug kingpins to one who secretly operated as a prolific serial killer, these are the most corrupt cops in American history.
Protect and serve — the motto is uttered by millions of cops worldwide, but history has made it abundantly clear that those words can often be empty.
Police corruption runs the gamut from individual bribery, drug peddling, and violence to entire departments engaging in illicit activities, only working to protect and serve their own twisted self-interests.
If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then the officers featured here prove it in spades.
These are nine true stories of America’s most corrupt cops.
Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, The ‘Mafia Cops’ Who Worked As Hitmen For The Mob
Between 1986 and 1990, New York Police Department officers Stephen Caracappa and his partner Louis Eppolito committed at least eight murders for the Lucchese crime family, accepting $375,000 to leak information and take out mob enemies.
Both men worked for the NYPD’s Organized Crime Homicide Unit in Brooklyn, but as it turned out, Eppolito was related to several prominent crime family members. Of course, he never mentioned this on his application.
He even wrote a book in 1992, Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was in the Mob. Evidently, Eppolito wasn’t quite the honest cop he made himself out to be.
While working for the Lucchese family’s boss, Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, Eppolito and Caracappa tracked down and murdered prominent members of rival families. But their spree wasn’t limited to just mobsters — they also killed a diamond dealer, a painters’ union leader, and a man suspected of leaking mob secrets to law enforcement.
But Stephen Caracappa made a mistake, and when he was asked to hunt down one of Casso’s enemies, a man named Nicholas Guido, he pulled the address of a different, innocent Nicholas Guido, and killed the wrong man.
Then, in the mid-90s, massive crackdowns led to arrests in every major New York crime family. Eppolito and Caracappa moved to Las Vegas, claiming to have retired from mob activity while actually dealing drugs and unsuccessfully planning the murders of former mobsters to protect their past.
In the end, Casso proved to be a poor choice of friend. He reported Caracappa and Eppolito’s involvement to the police in 1994.
And in 1998, while being interviewed from prison for 60 Minutes, he said, “I have two detectives that work the major squad team for the New York Police Department. Lou Eppolito and Steve — he’s got a long last name, Ca… Capis…”
Casso ratted out his former hitmen to try and get a reduced sentence. He didn’t, but the police couldn’t prove his allegations either.
The consequences for Caracappa and Eppolito finally came in 2005 when Brooklyn gangster Burton Kaplan flipped sides and provided crucial testimony in the case against them.
Both men eventually died in prison. Caracappa died in 2017 of stage IV cancer, and Eppolito died in 2019, The New York Times reported, but no cause of death was made public.