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Coffey accused Friedman of giving Fernandez the gun.
After hours of interrogation at the 47th Precinct, Friedman’s superior convinced Coffey of his innocence, citing his clean record. Fernandez, however, was still in cuffs and never spoke to law enforcement again.
Coffey, who was in a nearby car listening in, flipped out.
Instead of heading into the wedding, Fernandez was cuffed and charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
The woman, Lucy Santiago, was “5-foot-6 with long dark hair and a dynamite body,” he recalled. After the arrest spoiled his plans, he phoned to cancel, and she was annoyed.
She had invited him to her apartment, where she had promised to cook dinner and suggested dessert was definitely on the menu. Friedman promised to make it up to her and rescheduled for the coming Wednesday. Three days later, he was stopped in his precinct house by two detectives from the intelligence division.
Along with his 2,000 arrests, he assisted on more than 5,000.As a police officer, he was happily assigned to his home borough: the notorious 41st precinct, fittingly called “Fort Apache.” The neighborhood was something of an amusement park for depraved criminals. It was the like the Wild West, but 10 times worse,” said Friedman, who even investigated his own mother’s mugging and went after a mobster’s son who shot and wounded his brother Stu, a transit cop. While driving home with a date, he heard two gunshots, and two guys fell on the hood of his car at 105th Street and First Avenue.Shootings, robberies and arson were daily fare, and drug dealing could have been considered the official sport of the burned-out hood. One had been stabbed and the other had been shot and stabbed.The date — who wasn’t his steady girlfriend — was whisked away by Friedman’s brother at his request.
“I needed to get her out of there before press gets down there and interviews me or talks to her.” One particular girlfriend would prove especially problematic.“They tell me that when I didn’t show up at her place, she had, like, two or three guys there waiting to execute me,” said Friedman.