The early 1970s were a challenging period for the New York City police. Charged with widespread corruption and racketeering in Detective Frank Serpico’s 1971 testimony to the Knapp Commission, and the target of anti-Vietnam War demonstrators’ venom, the NYPD faced both soaring crime rates and budget cuts. New York was a city in crisis. Leonard Freed set out to explore the realities of police lives and work, leading him through an odyssey into New York’s dark heart.

This contact sheet features images from Freed’s work alongside the policemen of New York in 1978.

Leonard Freed joined Magnum Photos in 1972.

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