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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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.
NEWS
April 30, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
On Facebook, Philadelphia Police Officer Sean O'Malley has described the federal corruption trial of six of his drug squad colleagues as a "kangaroo court. " He can't wait, he wrote, to see his brothers in blue set free. And as he took the stand as a defense witness Tuesday, he aimed to deflate the most damning allegations against them. The $13,800 prosecutors said the indicted officers stole from a West Philadelphia home? O'Malley said he was the one who seized the money. The meth peddler in the Northeast who accused the drug squad of framing him?
NEWS
April 27, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
For four weeks, federal prosecutors have challenged the choices of six members of an elite Philadelphia police drug squad and accused them of pocketing drug money and trampling on suspects' rights. But as defense lawyers opened their case Friday, it was their turn to object to the FBI's methods. Moving through nine witnesses at a whirlwind clip, lawyer Jack McMahon left no decision made by federal investigators unquestioned. Why, McMahon asked, did agents wait until after indicting the officers to interview police supervisors who witnessed operations the FBI has since flagged as suspicious?
NEWS
March 26, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Nearly two years ago, a Philly.com report revealed an alarming and puzzling trend: Philadelphia residents had committed fewer violent crimes and fewer assaults on police in 2012 than in the previous year, but the police had shot many more Philadelphians. A subsequent federal review underscores the cause for alarm but leaves less occasion for puzzlement. The Department of Justice report released this week found that the city's officers are not consistently trained or equipped for alternatives to deadly force, nor are they reliably subjected to thorough investigations and oversight when they do fire their weapons.
NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday shed another problematic witness against six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused in gang-style beatings and robberies of drug suspects, prompting renewed calls from defense lawyers that the entire case should be tossed. Citing "contradictions" in his story, prosecutors withdrew all charges stemming from the grand jury testimony of Christian Cirigliano, a South Philadelphia man who said the accused officers kicked in his door and stole $3,200 from him on March 7, 2010.
NEWS
March 8, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
It was one of the more stunning allegations in an indictment filled with tales of eye-opening bad behavior by a group of six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of trampling on the rights of drug suspects for years: In 2011, the group, allegedly led by Officer Thomas Liciardello, savagely beat machine shop owner Warren Layre after forcing their way into his West Mount Airy storefront. Liciardello, prosecutors say, kicked in Layre's teeth, and other officers shoved their feet in his groin and hit his head with a steel bar - all before stealing nearly $30,000 from him that they failed to report as seized.
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