The Seven Five
Distributed By: MPI Home Video
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was discussing my time working in Brooklyn when a friend brought up a documentary he had seen about crooked cops in the area called The Seven Five. Of course, the events discussed in the documentary took place long before I worked in the location, but I found the summary of the story to be rather interesting, so I decided to check it out.
The Seven Five chronicles the crooked dealings and eventual takedown of a number of police officers in the New York City Police Department in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time in New York City history, Brooklyn was being torn apart by an epidemic. The area was known as the crack cocaine capital of the world. In the 1980s, the 75th Precinct was considered one of the most dangerous precincts in Brooklyn to work, with one of the highest murder rates in the country.
It is here we meet Officer Michael Dowd, a NYPD patrolmen who, with the help of other officers in the precinct, conspired to commit robberies, take bribes, protect drug dealers and more. The documentary moves back and forth between footage of Michael Dowd’s testimony before the Mollen Commission after his arrest in 1992 and commentary from Dowd, former partner Ken Eurell, Dominican drug dealer Adam Diaz, former partner Henry “Chicky” Guevara, Dori Eurell (Ken’s wife), former officer Walter Yurkiw, drug dealer Baron Perez, Internal Affairs investigator Joe Trimboli, DEA Special Agent Mike Troster and 75th Pct. Homicide Detective Joe Hall.
There may have been a time when Michael Dowd wanted to be a good cop. But by 1992, it was clear that his definition of what a good cop was supposed to be was quite different than what most people might expect. He testified in front of the Mollen Commission that his definition of a good cop meant one that protected the Blue Line, always protecting another officer in blue no matter what the cost. A good cop, in Mike Dowd’s skewed opinion, was someone that looked the other way when another fellow officer committed a crime.
The cocky way Dowd discusses his various crimes is like to piss off any upstanding citizen. He beings with his first theft, money taken from a perpetrator he had stopped as a payment for letting him go. From there, it was all downhill. He and partner Chicky committed a number of thefts, but when things began getting too hot and dirty officers were suspended at the 77th Pct., Chicky decided it was time to go. The fact that he was no longer on the police force meant nothing to Mike Dowd, who threw Chicky jobs any chance he could get. New partner Ken Eurell was a tough nut to crack, warned by his friends to stay away from Dowd and his dirty ways, but, as the officers kept saying, the pay was low and the risks were high. Eventually, Dowd was able to persuade Eurell to join him in higher ventures, like drug dealer heists, protecting other dealers by tipping them off to raids, etc.
As Dowd moved forward with his criminal ventures, he began to get sloppy, flashing his cash in various ways, including driving a brand new Corvette to work. You would think that the man actually was actually crying out for help, hoping to get caught, but as you listen to Dowd tell the story, you realize that he is just so corrupt he doesn’t care. He considers himself a gangster and a cop, but by the end of this documentary you will realize he is just a gangster. You will wonder why he didn’t get more time for his crimes which, though they didn’t include murder, still resulted in more drugs being peddled, more crimes tied to those drugs getting peddled and deaths (murders committed by drug dealers, but through the help of information doled out by Dowd). In his Mollen Commission testimony, when asked who he considered his bosses – NYPD or drug traffickers – he answers drug traffickers. That should tell you all you need to know.
The Seven Five is an in-depth look at the corruption taking place in the precinct at a time when drug dealers had seemingly free reign over the city and drug related crime was at its highest. I found myself mesmerized by the tale, amazed at the cojones of this corrupt cop-turned-criminal who feels no remorse for his actions and tells his story in a cocky manner, chuckling at his brazen adventures in crime. This documentary will make many New Yorkers, especially those who lived through the times depicted in this film, extremely angry, but you won’t be able to walk away from the film until you’ve seen the very ending, so unbelievable is the story. Definitely a must see!