The Investigators: Recordings show cops' anti-Semitic harassment of fellow NYPD officer

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A former NYPD officer who claims he was the victim of constant anti-Semitic harassment at the hands of his fellow officers is speaking out, describing the relentless torment he was forced to deal with on an every-day basis.

And it's not just his word against theirs. David Attali recorded their anti-Jewish barbs, and for the first time, he has agreed to go public with his recordings.

All Attali ever wanted to be was a police officer, so when he was assigned to the World Trade Center Command, he felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment. It didn't last long.

Soon after, some of his fellow officers started to make jokes about Jews. Attali, an Israeli Jew, initially tried to ignore them, saying they seemed like the occasional workplace joke. But the slurs kept coming, targeted directly at him with increasing cruelty.

"They got very aggressive with it," he said. "Non-stop about Hitler, and 'he did such a good job' and just non-stop every day, every day, references to concentration camps, 'I should throw you in an oven.'"

Attali says the racial and religious attacks intensified, even occurring in front of supervisors.

"Certain officers will come in, regardless of who is standing there, sergeant, lieutenant, no referring to me as David," he said. "It is just '(expletive)' or 'What's up, dirty Jew.'"

The six-year-veteran asked to be transferred anywhere, but it was denied. And that's when Attali started secretly recording the slurs.

Police officer (in fake German accent): "Do you want to go to this camp for the summer?"
Attali: "Why?"
Police officer: "Oh, you will lose so much weight, you'll be in the best shape of your life.
Attali: "How so?"
Police officer: "It's a concentration camp."

This is the first time he is sharing the recordings.

Police officer: "Think about it. Where do Jews with ADD get sent?"
Attali: "Where?
Police officer: "Concentration camps."

The daily attacks became more degrading and vicious.

"You smell like (expletive) and fish," one officer told him. "You smell like Gefilte (expletive)."

Attali says one officer, Christoper Delbrocolo, relentlessly harassed him and never called him by his real name, only "dirty Jew." He is heard throughout the recordings taking jaw-dropping anti-Semitic jabs at Attali.

"I wish I could go back to the 30s and shake Hitler's hand," he once said.

"This is the only thing I wanted to do," Attali said. "This is the job that I love, this was it."

His dream job had become a threatening, hate-filled nightmare.

Officer No. 1: "I hate that haircut."
Attali: "Want me to shave my head?"
Officer No. 1: "I want to push you into an oven and (expletive) burn."
Officer No. 2: "I want to tattoo a number on you."
Officer No. 3: "DKS7741, step up, breathe in this tube," another said. "And, oh wait, he died, surprise, surprise."

The anti-Semitism was also plastered all over Attali's locker, including grocery store pork ads. He eventually filed a complaint with the NYPD Equal Employment Opportunity, which concluded his locker had been vandalized but found his allegations of verbal harassment unsubstantiated.

"It was too much for me," he said. "That's it, I'm done. I'm out...I really had no option."

And so he quit the force. He has since filed a discrimination lawsuit against the NYPD and nine officers, including Delbrocolo. Attali's attorney says the NYPD basically pushed his client out.

"He had to quit," Rocco Avallone said. "He was what we call constructively discharged. They basically forced him to quit once the transfer got denied."

The NYPD says it is conducting an internal investigation into this case, and disciplinary charges have been filed against three officers.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.