Ex-cop being sued by Philly rapper Meek Mill takes witness stand

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Meek Mill , a/k/a Robert Williams, smiles big as he arrives yesterday at the federal courthouse.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Meek Mill , a/k/a Robert Williams, smiles big as he arrives yesterday at the federal courthouse.
Posted: May 01, 2014

IN THE HOT SEAT yesterday at Philly rapper Meek Mill's civil trial in federal court: now-fired cop Andre Boyer.

Mill, 26, is suing the city, Boyer and police Officer Alvin Outlaw. He contends he was unjustly stopped and arrested by cops on Oct. 31, 2012, when they pulled him over in his Range Rover on Girard Avenue near 10th Street, then cuffed and detained him at a police district for hours.

Dennis Cogan, Mill's lead attorney, called Boyer, 47, to the stand.

Boyer, dressed in an electric-blue suit, testified that he, Outlaw and Officer Michael Vargas stopped the SUV because of its heavily tinted windows - "so dark you could not see in," he said. He did not know there were four men inside until the windows were rolled down.

Contrary to Mill's testimony on Monday, Boyer said he did not pat Mill down. Boyer testified that he smelled marijuana from the SUV after the windows were opened.

Cogan contends the cops falsely claimed to smell pot to justify a search of the SUV. He played police radio calls between Vargas and a police dispatcher, showing there was no mention of anyone smelling pot and it wasn't until 33 minutes after Mill's SUV was stopped that officers requested that a drug-sniffing dog be brought to the scene.

The dog alerted to the presence of drugs, but a subsequent search found no drugs in the SUV.

Mill's attorneys yesterday also introduced evidence that Boyer had been the subject of various Internal Affairs investigations. On the stand, Boyer said most of the complaints were unfounded, unsubstantiated or withdrawn.

Jurors, however, learned of an instance when Boyer had indeed lied. Cogan, without getting into too many details, asked him about a matter involving a person named Wurlin Graham.

He told Boyer that a former Internal Affairs lieutenant found "you lied in connection with the official investigation" on the Graham matter. Boyer contested the finding, saying it was "alleged."

U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice, however, told jurors that attorneys on both sides of this civil trial agree "there was a finding in the Graham matter that Officer Boyer lied."

The Graham matter was the one for which Boyer was fired last year. These details were not revealed to the jury. Graham had accused Boyer in 2011 of stealing $6,000 from him. An Internal Affairs investigation did not confirm the money was stolen. But it found that Boyer lied in connection with the investigation.

Jurors also heard from Lt. Karyn Baldini, formerly with Internal Affairs, about an investigation in which Boyer improperly input information in, or falsified, police-arrest reports in 53 marijuana cases. But she also noted in one of her reports that he may have done so out of laziness.

Cogan also called Outlaw to the stand. Like Boyer, he testified that he smelled pot from Mill's SUV after the windows were rolled down. He said his smelling pot in the SUV was not something he or another cop would "broadcast over [police] radio."

"When you're over the radio, you're broadcasting fast, you don't tell them [dispatch] everything that's going on," he said.


On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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