Federal prosecutors have charged six Philadelphia narcotics cops with a host of corruption charges, including robbery, extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing.
At a Wednesday morning news conference U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said the six shook down drug dealers, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and drugs over a six and a half years between 2006 and 2012. He described one violent act the group is accused of against a drug dealer identified only with the initials M.C.
“On Nov. 26, 2007, defendant Linwood Norman lifted a victim off his feet and then leaned M.C. over an 18th floor balcony railing,” Memeger said, in a conspiracy with other officers to steal $8,000 and personal property from the drug dealer.
In another incident, the indictment charges, the officers took an individual from his home and held him captive for several days in a hotel room while officers threatened him and made threats against his family.
The indictment accuses the officers of falsifying reports to conceal the theft of drug proceeds from dealers they arrested. They allegedly shook down drug dealers for everything from suits to Rolex watches, cash and cocaine that they resold.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was at the news conference where federal prosecutors announced the charges. He referred to the group as a cancer that must be surgically removed from the department.
“Conduct like this is simply unacceptable, cannot be tolerated and is inexcusable,” Ramsey said. He said the officers will be suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.
Federal authorities are asking that the six be held without bail until their trials, arguing that the violence they allegedly used against drug dealers show they’re a threat to potential witnesses in the case.
The six charged are Thomas Liciardello, 38; Brian Reynolds, 43; Michael Spicer, 46; Perry Betts, 46; Linwood Norman, 46; and John Speiser, 44 all of Philadelphia.