by Suzanne Vega
After two long decades, Israel Greenwald’s family gains justice for his heinous murder.
According to the NY Times, Greenwald’s family settled a civil suit against the City of New York for $5 million on Thursday. Their lawsuit was one of many against the two NYPD officers who moonlighted as mafia hitmen in the 1980s.
Greenwald, an Orthodox Jew who was a father of two, was killed by NYPD detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito in 1986. He was buried in a unmarked grave in a Brooklyn garage after he was lured there on claims of being involved in a hit and run.
It wasn’t until 20 years later that the family gained closure and the truth about what happened to Greenwald, after a government witness led investigators to the diamond dealers’ makeshift grave near Nostrand Avenue.
The former NYPD detectives are scheduled to go to trial in the fall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. They were previously convicted of eight murders, two attempted murders and one murder conspiracy in 2006. Caracappa and Eppolito are serving multiple life sentences, while still receiving NYPD pensions.
The crooked detectives formed a partnership with the mafia boss Anthony Casso only after a few years of joining the police force. They agreed to kill and offer confidential information to the crime group in exchange for financial compensation.
Unfortunately for Greenwald, he was truly an innocent man, murdered because they suspected he had unintentionally tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for obtaining treasury bills, which he believed where legitimate. However, the bills had apparently originated with links to Casso.
In February of 1986 the two detectives tracked down Greenwald from a confidential police database, locating his home address, car model and license plate number. From there they pulled him over on a bogus hit-and-run allegation and brought him to the warehouse where Caracappa and another man killed him, with Eppolito acting as a lookout.
Caracappa and Eppolito also committed several other murders, including the killings of a Staten Island man whom they stuffed into a trunk, another man gunned down while changing a tire on his car and another who was left dead with a canary stuffed into his mouth after the detectives identified him as an informer, as reported by the NY Times.
The reason the city and police department were held accountable is because they had knowledge of the two twisted detectives’ connections to the mafia, but didn’t take an active approach in permanently dismissing them from the police force.
For example, in 1984 Eppolito was suspended after the F.B.I. notified the police department that he had given out intelligence files to the Gambino crime family. Originally the city had tried to prevent the lawsuit, but it was clear that they were responsible and could have prevented Greenwald’s death had they handled the reports appropriately.