When an Amateur Thug Turns Pro: The Corey Pegues Story

By his own admission, Corey Pegues was a standout amateur thug before the NYPD offered him a contract to turn pro.

In a recent interview for the “Combat Jack” podcast to promote his upcoming memoir “From the Streets to the Beat,” the retired NYPD Deputy Inspector, who once sported a “Thug Life” tattoo, recalled his early career as a street gangster and drug dealer allied with Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff during the 1980s. By his account, Pegues was a very successful crack dealer who at the age of 17 attempted to murder a business rival – an example of the institutionalized violence that invariably accompanies prohibition.

Pegues also disclosed that he was a close friend of David McClary, who murdered NYPD officer Edward Byrne while the rookie cop was guarding a witness in 1988.Officer Byrne has since been immortalized in the Justice Department’s Byrne Memorial Grant program, which has been one of the chief conduits for federal law enforcement subsidies that have escalated the “war on drugs” and abetted the militarization of “local” police agencies.

For more than twenty years, the recently retired Pegues had to conceal his relationship to the perpetrator of “the most infamous murder in the history of the police department,” in addition to this more extensive criminal history. None of those details emerged during Pegues’s background check, a fact that demonstrates to good advantage the investigative competence of the NYPD.

Pegues is now retired and collecting a $135,000 tax-free annual “line-of-duty disability pension” for a back injury that has not left him visibly disabled. Neither his pension profiteering nor his criminal history would likely have provoked the displeasure of his former comrades if Pegues had not committed the unforgivable offense of crossing the “Blue Line” by publicly condemning the NYPD’s recent murder of Eric Garner.

In an interview with a local television station, Pegues described Garner’s death as the result of a “gang assault” by NYPD officers. He criticized Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s use of an illegal chokehold on Garner, who – as Pegues pointed out – did not pose a threat and was not violently resisting after the thugscrum coalesced around him. He also pointed out that once Garner was on the ground, other officers placed their weight on him, fatally compressing his chest.

Pegues’s very public condemnation of the Eric Garner murder was not the first time he had broken ranks to criticize thuggish NYPD behavior. In June, he criticized police conduct during a union-organized courthouse rally for Officer Vincent LoGuidice, who has been charged with felony assault for beating a suspect during a traffic stop. Four years ago, Pegues condemned Yonkers officers who assaulted and injured a plainclothes officer named Kenneth Kissiedu, who was mistaken for a robbery suspect and charged with “obstructing governmental administration.”

“The onus is on the uniformed officers to step back, give clear commands of what you’re looking for, not just grab people, beat them up and find out that they are officers and lock them up,” Pegues declared.

For Corey Pegues’s detractors, the real scandal consists not of the violent acts he committed as either an amateur or subsidized professional thug, but rather the lack of solidarity he displayed to the tax-funded gang that employed him. If he had remained a true and faithful member of that privileged tribe, he would be hailed as an example of redemption, rather than cursed as an apostate.


11:11 am on September 8, 2014