All of those officers are current or former narcotics officers. Those charged are: John Speiser, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Thomas Liciardello and Linwood Norman. All are facing multiple charges including extortion, robbery, kidnapping and drug-dealing
Sources previously confirmed that a federal grand jury has been investigating allegations that Philadelphia narcotics officers stole drugs and money and committed robberies of drug dealers, in some cases allegedly using their guns to do it. In one incident, officials say the accused held one of the drug suspects for days in a hotel while threatening him and making threats against his family. In another, one victim was reportedly dangled over the edge of an 18th floor balcony in order to get information.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says “I’ve been a police officer for over 40 years and this is one of the worst cases of corruption I’ve ever heard.”
The accused are also said to have robbed drug dealers, taking items including cash and expensive watches.
The incidents reportedly took place between 2006 and 2012. One of those charged, Liciardello, is said to have been the main culprit in falsifying records after the incidents.
A key figure in this case is an admitted corrupt former cop, now a cooperator, Jeffrey Walker. He was arrested last year on corruption charges and reportedly started cooperating immediately.
Over the past year, authorities have been working to corroborate the information he provided, which resulted Wednesday in the arrests.
“These officers don’t represent the majority of this department. The majority of our department was represented in the dedicated police work displayed during the past few days, working endlessly with the community and getting wanted criminals off the street. We will continue to be transparent; we will continue to pursue those involved in corruption, and remove those who don’t belong in this department. We will continue to make strong efforts in developing trusting relationships with every community as we build a safer Philadelphia for our citizens,” Police Commissioner Ramsey said.
It’s expected that authorities are going to seek pre-trial detention for some or all of the six officers.
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