To some, the idea of a gang of crooked cops gone rogue may sound like fiction, but it was a reality in the late ’80s and ’90s in New York City. On Friday, the premiere of documentary The Seven Five will reunite disgraced NYPD officers Michael Dowd and Kenneth Eurell and their gang, known as the “Morgue Boys,” for the first time in 20 years.
At his criminal peak, Dowd and his posse wielded their power to run drugs and exploit the very community they were meant to serve in Brooklyn’s 75th precinct. The New York Times reported in 1994 that they earned as much as $8,000 a week “for not interfering with drug sales along with whatever cocaine they could steal as they broke down doors at drug dens and ripped off dealers” in Long Island, East New York, and Brooklyn.
Dowd was finally brought down not by an investigation from his own department, but by the Suffolk County Police Department, who put a wire on Eurell and caught Dowd plotting “to rob and kill a drug dealer’s wife to finance an escape to Nicaragua,” reports The New York Daily News.
Dowd, now 53, was locked up for nearly 12 years as a result. “My wife left me,” he said, adding, “My kids don’t know me.” Eurell, on the other hand, was “rewarded with time served — about 3 months” for cooperating with police. They have seen each other once since the arrests, and have made peace with their actions and with each other.
While they both regret their criminal activity, Eurell admitted that he found it to be an exhilarating time. “It was like going outside your body doing the things we did,” he said. “I knew it was crazy. I knew it was going to have to come to an end.”
Director Tiller Russell said of the premiere: “It’s going to be like the world’s strangest high school reunion.”
(Photo: The Seven Five trailer)