Sociopath alert: Bernard Kerik

Bernard Kerik is the former Commissioner of the New York Police Department, who later became Rudolph Giuliani's business partner, and who eventually pled guilty to corruption charges. He is now serving a four year prison term in Maryland.

Here's Kerik as a young officer:


Most of the cops I've met have struck me as good guys. But police departments definitely attract more than their share of sociopaths, who are drawn to the job because of the power it gives them over others.

In 1974, Kerik joined the US Army. He became an MP, then later a hand to hand combat instructor at Ft. Bragg. After leaving the Army in 1977, he worked at various police and security jobs until he joined the NYPD in 1986. He worked undercover in narcotics and became a detective in 1990. In early 1994, Kerik was assigned to Mayor Giuliani's personal security detail. Three months later Giuliani appointed him First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections, and in 1998 promoted him to Commissioner. In 2000, Kerik was promoted to Commissioner of the NYPD.

This is the record of a man who rose quickly through the ranks, who managed to impress the powerful people he crossed paths with. It could be the record of a man who was brilliant at every job he undertook; but it could also be the record of a man who was gifted at manipulation and self-promotion.

Kerik is also a fifth degree black belt in both karate and tae kwon do. These are usually referred to as arts of self defense; but both can be used offensively as well. Which way they're employed is up to the practitioner. If you like to rough people up, they're good skills to have.

Even when he was Commissioner of the NYPD, Kerik still cruised the city at night with a group of seasoned police officers. He participated in five arrests during that time, gaining a reputation as "the beat-cop commissioner." This can also be viewed in two ways. Either he did it because he wanted to keep a feel for the streets and let the guys on the beat know he was one of them. Or he might have done it simply because he enjoyed the thrill and satisfaction of arresting people.

While stationed in Korea with the Army in 1975, Kerik had a daughter with a Korean woman. When his tour of duty was up, he simply left them behind.

Since then, Kerik has been married three times. The first two marriages lasted for four and nine years, respectively. He is still married to his third wife. During his third marriage he used police property to conduct a widely publicized affair with publisher Judith Regan. (Multiple marriages are often a yellow flag for sociopathy.)

In 2007 a grand jury in New York issued a sixteen count indictment against Kerik for charges including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the IRS. He eventually pled guilty to eight of those charges, as well as lying to the White House (when he was being considered for the Homeland Security position).

It turned out that Kerik had $255,000 worth of work done -- for free -- on his Bronx apartment by a firm, Interstate Industrial Corporation, which was looking to get business with the city. The firm was widely reputed to have mob ties.

Sociopaths never think that laws apply to them, even when they work in law enforcement.

I'm not sure whether it's the thin lips, the perpetually hostile expression, or the dead-looking eyes,  but every time I see a picture of Kerik, I get strong sociopath vibes: he always looks as if he's trying to intimidate you. Look into those eyes: is there the slightest trace of goodwill there, or are those the eyes of a man who looks at the world with contempt? (And take another look at that top picture: does he have the air of a man who would show much restraint and understanding, or does he look like the type who would treat you like dirt and perhaps be quick with his nightstick?)

Kerik's mother was, by his own admission, an alcoholic prostitute who was murdered when he was nine. I've noticed that a lot of sociopaths seem to have had alcoholic mothers, which makes sense, since a mother who's truly addicted cares more about her fix than her children, which means that normal parent-child bonding doesn't take place.

Having a mother who is a prostitute as well almost sounds like the background of a serial killer; but not all sociopaths turn out to be serial killers.

Some go to Wall Street; some become politicians; some thrive in Hollywood; and some become cops.