December 4, 2015 |
Several bills under consideration in Harrisburg threaten to trample the public's right to know. Pennsylvanians can only hope that the measures' worst potential consequences are unintended. The legislation includes bills that could help rogue cops escape scrutiny, impede media coverage of the courts, and hide where elected officials live - like, say, in another state. One particularly troubling measure would suppress police body camera recordings taken in private homes. That would defeat the purpose of the cameras in situations where they might provide a valuable objective record.
August 9, 2015 |
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.
June 12, 2015 |
The city is paying $490,000 to the family of a man murdered by a rogue Philadelphia police officer who opened fire after his girlfriend's cellphone got wet during a neighborhood squirt gun fight, officials announced Wednesday. Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said the city also is paying $85,000 to a woman who was wounded when former Officer Rudolph Valentino Gary Jr. - who is serving a 25- to 60-year prison sentence for third-degree murder and aggravated assault - started shooting.
May 4, 2015 |
John Paff retreats to a small room in his chilly basement each morning and fires up his computer. Methodically, he lets fly a barrage of e-mails to pry loose confidential documents that local governments and New Jersey agencies closely guard. Disciplinary reports of rogue cops. Dashboard footage of traffic stops. Ethics violations filed against lawyers. Health benefits that part-time officials quietly give themselves. As chair of the Open Government Advocacy Project for the New Jersey Libertarian Party, Paff submits about 700 requests for documents from local governments across the state each year.
April 2, 2015 |
A Main Line prep-school assistant basketball coach told a federal jury Tuesday that Philadelphia narcotics officers robbed him blind during a 2007 search of his City Avenue apartment. Their purported haul? A safe stuffed with $80,000 in drug proceeds, clothes, a pair of flashy sunglasses, and a DVD he had rented from Blockbuster. What Robert Kushner appeared less eager to discuss, as he testified at those same officers' federal corruption trial, was what brought the police to his apartment in the first place.
April 1, 2015 |
DEFENSE ATTORNEYS for the ex-narcotics cops accused of robbing suspected drug dealers went on the attack yesterday, calling the alleged victims "despicable liars. " They also lambasted Jeffrey Walker, a former narcotics cop-turned-cooperating government witness. Defense lawyer Jack McMahon, in his typical bulldog manner, called Walker "dirty and despicable, dumb and arrogant. " McMahon said he will put on the stand the narcotics cops' supervisors - who were at the scenes of the alleged robberies - to show there was no wrongdoing.
November 15, 2014 |
A FORMER Philly cop, fired for making a questionable arrest of an Iraqi War veteran last year, testified yesterday that he released the man without filing charges because of the man's military service. Kevin Corcoran, 34, said he cut Roderick King loose even after King cursed at him, challenged him to fight and refused to give his name while handcuffed and facedown in the officer's marked SUV during the wee hours of March 31, 2013. Corcoran, on trial in Common Pleas Court for false imprisonment, official oppression and obstructing the administration of law, said that King showed "a complete range of emotions" before breaking into tears and sharing that he had served in the Air Force during the Iraqi War. "I felt bad for the guy . . . I said, 'I'm going to cut you a break,' " a calm and confident-appearing Corcoran said while being questioned by his lawyer, Fortunato Perri Jr. Assistant District Attorney Michael Bonner told the jury during his closing argument yesterday that the former cop's version of events was "a fabrication, a convenient after-defense for when this defendant got caught.
November 14, 2014 |
FORMER Philadelphia police officer Kevin Corcoran, who was fired after making a questionable arrest during a traffic altercation last year, was either a "rogue" cop or an "innocent man" just trying to get home safely to his family. The conflicting portrayals of Corcoran, 34, came during opening statements yesterday in Common Pleas Court, where he is being tried for obstructing the administration of law, official oppression and false imprisonment. The man Corcoran handcuffed and drove to a dark Center City alley at 2 a.m. March 31, 2013, testified that he did nothing illegal and that he felt he was at "the mercy" of an enraged cop. "I was worried because of the way he was acting," said Roderick King, 31. "I was scared that I was not safe.
November 13, 2014 |
A prosecutor on Wednesday described former police officer Kevin Corcoran as a "rogue cop" who terrorized and falsely imprisoned a man after an altercation last year in Center City, while a defense lawyer depicted the encounter as a judgment call made during a routine patrol. The conflicting accounts emerged during opening arguments and testimony in Corcoran's trial on charges of false imprisonment, obstruction, and official oppression. In an incident that led to the veteran officer's dismissal and arrest, police say Corcoran handcuffed a man and drove him to a North Philadelphia alley after the man's friend chided him for making an illegal turn in his police SUV. Corcoran released the man only after learning he was a veteran of the Iraq war. Corcoran, 34, denies the charges.