Thursday, July 31, 2014

Six Philly Cops Charged With Robbery, Kidnapping, Extortion

Jeremy Roebuck, Mark Fazilollah and Aubrey Whelen at the Philadelphia Inquirer offer a piece on the Philadelphia narcotics officers charged robbery, kidnapping and extortion.

Stories of shakedowns, brutality, kidnapping, and theft have dogged a group of the city's Narcotics Field Unit officers for nearly a decade. But despite multiple investigations, cases against them never stuck.

Federal prosecutors set out to change that Wednesday, laying out a sprawling racketeering case against six of the unit's former members. The charges paint them as rogue cops running roughshod over the rights of their targets, confident that few would believe anyone who dared complain.

As the years went on, the 26-count indictment suggests, Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser became only more brazen.

Between February 2006 and November 2012, it states, they stole more than $500,000 in cash, drugs, and personal property - all while using extreme force, and falsifying police reports to downplay their takes.
Targets who resisted, prosecutors say, were dangled over balconies, threatened with the seizure of their homes, held in dank hotel rooms for days, or beaten as the officers kept score on who could inflict the most debilitating injuries.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey described the allegations as "one of the worst cases of corruption I have ever heard."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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