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Police Corruption

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NEWS
August 23, 1995 | By Mark Fazlollah and Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS Copyright 1995 The Philadelphia Inquirer
He is a decorated 13-year veteran. He once was dragged for a block with his arm wedged in the window of a stolen car and cracked his back, but he still arrested the thief. He comes from tough law-enforcement stock. His father is a former cop, his uncle a no-nonsense Common Pleas Court judge. Now Louis J. Maier 3d is the sixth former 39th District police officer to admit that he is dirty. Maier, 38, has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office and is scheduled to appear before a federal district judge today to enter his guilty plea, his attorney, L. Felipe Restrepo, said yesterday.
NEWS
January 13, 1987 | By JIM SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
After six years as a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, including three years uprooting corruption in the Police Department, Howard Klein is leaving the U.S. attorney's office. By Friday, Klein will have packed his bags to become a partner in the Center City law firm of Blank, Rome, Comisky and McCauley. "It's time to move on," said Klein, 36, a widely respected prosecutor who has spent the last year as chief of the criminal division supervising 45 trial lawyers for U.S. Attorney Edward S.G. Dennis Jr. Those who got to know him by his work in the U.S. Courthouse - agents, other prosecutors, defense attorneys - say Klein was a talented, aggressive and fair advocate for the government.
NEWS
January 3, 1986 | By Christopher Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Kevin M. Tucker, sworn in yesterday as Philadelphia's police commissioner, said that among his first priorities would be ending police corruption and "the verbal and physical abuse of our citizens" by police. With that in mind, he immediately announced the creation of a new command position of first deputy commissioner, to be filled by Robert Armstrong, a former deputy commissioner who had served as acting commissioner since Gregore J. Sambor resigned in November. "First Deputy Commissioner Armstrong will be responsible with me for reviewing and enhancing programs regarding ethics and accountability and for ensuring the departmental cooperation with outside agencies," Tucker said.
NEWS
August 27, 1995 | By Peter F. Vaira
Scandals at the Philadelphia Police Department have a familiar ring. In 1981, when I was U.S. Attorney, my office obtained indictments and convictions of 12 officers. In time, 35 members of the department were convicted, including its No. 2 officer. The investigation ended in 1986. Nine years later, a fresh wave of corruption has been exposed, this one appearing to dwarf the last one. Experience teaches that there are several factors underlying nearly every police corruption scandal.
NEWS
May 9, 1996 | by Joseph R. Daughen, Daily News Staff Writer
Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams, in Philadelphia to promote his new book, told an audience at Temple University that he favors using nonviolent prisoners to clean up graffiti. "I think it's a good idea," Williams told about 60 people gathered in Kiva Auditorium at 13th Street and Cecil B. Moore Boulevard. "Graffiti vandalism is what it is. It does send a signal that we don't care about this wall, we don't care about this block, this neighborhood. " Although he said he has been "concentrating on L.A. " and hasn't kept up with events in Philadelphia, Williams did claim credit for starting the current probe into police corruption when he was the police commissioner here.
NEWS
June 30, 1996 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Ten officers have been charged, six have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to long prison terms, and federal prosecutors are apparently still far from finished with their probe of corruption in the Philadelphia Police Department. But there's another probe under way that asks not what happened but why. Unlike the federal criminal investigation, this parallel probe is not going to put anyone in jail. Yet for the city and its taxpayers, the stakes in the second investigation could not be higher.
NEWS
August 5, 2010 | By Allison Steele, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Faced with a growing number of Philadelphia Police officers in handcuffs, Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey on Thursday announced plans to assign more officers to the department's Internal Affairs bureau, enhance officer training in ethics issues and create new ways for officers to report misconduct among their colleagues. Ramsey said he was not sure how many officers would be transferred to Internal Affairs, but said they would be assigned to a joint task force that works with the FBI on investigating police corruption.
NEWS
January 24, 1986 | By Douglas A. Campbell Inquirer Staff Writer
A Feasterville man, who was charged Dec. 2 with trying to bribe a Bucks County police chief to overlook prostitution, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges of perjury in his testimony on police corruption in Philadelphia. The indictment charges that John Catagnus, 43, of Westview Avenue, the owner of several go-go bars and massage parlors in the Philadelphia area, lied when he told the grand jury in November 1984 that he had not paid Philadelphia police to protect massage parlors that he owned in the city.
NEWS
February 22, 1996 | by Mark McDonald, Daily News Staff Writer
District Attorney Lynne Abraham, the "tough cookie," went into City Council's budgetary oven yesterday and came out badly scorched. Her ordeal began with her budget request for a 9 percent increase, almost $2 million more than the Rendell administration's $21.5 million figure for her office. Before it ended, she faced sharp questioning on her level of cooperation with the Public Defender in rooting out criminal cases corrupted by bad cops in the 39th District and her investigation of Moises DeJesus' death while in police custody.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 8, 2016 | By Stephanie Farr, Staff Writer
It was the summer of 2015, and Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Vitanovitz was ashamed – and addicted. Two shoulder surgeries from on-the-job injuries had led to a prescription for pain pills, and when it was time to stop taking them, he couldn't. "By the time I needed help, I was scared, extremely scared," he said. "I was embarrassed and ashamed to be a cop that has a pill problem. " In a telephone interview Monday, just hours after the U.S. Attorney's Office charged him with attempted extortion - and a police spokesman confirmed he had been suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss - Vitanovitz, 31, shared his story of addiction, recovery, and gratitude.
NEWS
March 12, 2016 | By Dana DiFilippo, STAFF WRITER
Andre Boyer, a former Philadelphia police officer who says he was fired for being a whistleblower, is trying to raise money online to investigate police corruption and cover his resulting, mounting legal expenses. His GoFundMe campaign, the "Dirty Corrupt Philly Cops Fund," is not exactly going gangbusters. In 20 days, only two people have donated $35 toward Boyer's $10,000 goal. Boyer is a 17-year veteran of the police department who lost his job in 2013 over allegations that he mishandled $6,000 during an arrest.
NEWS
October 16, 2015 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
THERE'S A coffee shop around the corner from the weather-beaten slab of concrete that serves as the Philadelphia Police Department's headquarters. A few minutes after a visibly worn Commissioner Charles Ramsey wrapped up his umpteenth media interview of the afternoon, Bob Dylan started echoing through the shop. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right. " You know the song. " I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe, " Dylan sang. " Where I'm bound, I can't tell. " After 47 years in law enforcement, Ramsey isn't exactly sure where he's headed, either.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 26, 2015 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two new shows this week bear the mark of their auteurish creators: Accomplished filmmaker Edward Burns brings dramatic gravitas to the small screen with the period drama Public Morals , and stand-up comic Jerrod Carmichael manages to tackle weighty issues using a cliched sitcom format. Cops? Just another gang The Mad Men vibe has become the Holy Grail of TV. Every network seems desperate to match the unique texture of Matt Weiner's period drama. Most attempts - CBS's Vegas , ABC's Pan Am , NBC's Playboy Club, and TNT's Mob City - were misfires.
NEWS
August 19, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Whether Charles H. Ramsey remains Philadelphia's police commissioner may not be entirely up to the next mayor. Ramsey, 65, has done about everything one could do in nearly five decades in law enforcement. Even if the next mayor wants him, retirement will be enticing. That's not the impression he gave before the mayoral primary in May. "Obviously, my time will come to an end at some point," he said. "But I still love it. " However, all it may take is another fight with the police union, or another officer dying in the line of duty, for love to become like, and so on. State Sen. Anthony Williams pledged to fire Ramsey if elected mayor, but he lost the Democratic primary.
NEWS
August 9, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
A Philadelphia judge on Friday reversed 158 narcotics convictions tainted by allegations of police corruption - the largest such dismissal in one day in city history. The rulings by Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper were the latest fallout from the federal prosecution of seven police narcotics officers. The officers - Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser - were acquitted of all charges at a federal trial in May. A seventh officer, Jeffrey Walker, pleaded guilty to separate federal corruption charges and testified against his former colleagues at trial.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Six members of an elite Philadelphia narcotics squad were acquitted Thursday of federal corruption charges - a verdict the men described as "vindication" after nearly a decade of federal scrutiny surrounding their conduct. A jury of six men and six women took 51/2 days to reject prosecutors' arguments that former Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser routinely beat and robbed drug suspects during their time as members of the Narcotics Field Unit.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT & BOB STEWART, Daily News Staff Writers zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
SIX EX-NARCOTICS officers accused of going rogue and robbing suspected drug dealers during a six-year reign of terror walked out of federal court yesterday as free men after a jury acquitted them of all charges at the end of a six-week trial. Relatives of the former Narcotics Field Unit cops - Thomas Liciardello, 38; Michael Spicer, 47; Brian Reynolds, 43; Perry Betts, 47; Linwood Norman, 47; and John Speiser, 42 - packed into the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno to hear the verdict, which came just after 11 a.m. They erupted into cheers and tears of joy after the jury foreman answered "not guilty" to each of the 26 counts against the men. Some of the officers faced more counts than others, but the charges against them included racketeering conspiracy, robbery, use of excessive force and falsifying police reports.
NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyers on both sides of the federal corruption trial of six members of an elite Philadelphia Police Department narcotics squad finally found on Tuesday - the day they began their closing arguments - a point on which they could agree: The decision in this case, they told jurors, should be easy. It would be "absurd," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney, to believe that a disgraced former police officer and 19 drug suspects independently came up with the same detailed lies about a series of police abuses.
NEWS
May 5, 2015 | David Gambacorta, Daily News Staff Writer
THE POLLS and surveys tell you education is the issue that voters care about most in the mayor's race. But the streets tell a different story. Thousands of people have marched through Philadelphia recently - to protest the police killings of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Brandon Tate-Brown in Frankford and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The outcry hasn't been just about the deaths - but for greater transparency in how police-involved shootings are investigated, and for bad cops to face meaningful discipline.
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