Yesterday, I posted about the officers whose testimony was so incredible that the DA didn’t want to call them as witnesses anymore. Veteran attorney Brad Bridge of the Defender Association remarked that the officers were “among the most troubled in the department.”
- Perry Betts;
- Brian Reynolds;
- Michael Spicer;
- Thomas Liciardello;
- Brian Speiser; and
- Lt. Robert Otto
were named in several Internal Affairs investigations and civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force, false arrests, and filing false reports.
Unsurprisingly, the shit has now hit the fan. Yesterday, the District Attorney withdrew charges against two men who’d been charged with drug dealing — all because of the lying liars of the Narcotics Unit.
From today’s Inquirer:
Two men accused of drug dealing had charges against them dropped Thursday after their attorney told a judge that five Philadelphia antinarcotics officers involved in their case had “partnered with drug dealers” in crime.
According to the article, defense attorney Larry Krasner argued to Judge Charles Hayden that:
“There was a group of police officers who essentially partnered with certain drug dealers, and they partnered with those drug dealers to do things that were both illegal and outright crimes.”
The Assistant District Attorney Bret Furbur remarked:
”[T]he [District Attorney's] office, my higher-ups, have informed me the case is going to be withdrawn.”
Naturally, it logically follows that the DA realized there was a substantial credibility issue with the narcotics unit officers. Further, it makes sense that when you’re trying get convictions (as ADAs are wont to do), it helps to call witnesses who are believable. Since these officers proved wholly unreliable, why would the DA want to call them as witnesses any longer?
But instead of noting that maybe, just maybe, FOP5 should raise the bar and suggest that their officers take that oath to tell the truth seriously, McNesby points the finger at District Attorney Seth Williams:
“[District Attorney Seth Williams] has no idea how to run the office. He doesn’t know the ramifications of what he’s done. He’s not just gotten these guys transferred, he’s tarnished their careers.”
He must have a variation on Tourette syndrome, where the afflicted impulsively says stupid things all the time. He just can’t help himself! Blaming the DA for FOP5 officer’s poor conduct that renders them incredible — now that’s really incredible.
After I shook my head in disbelief for a few minutes, I decided to put fingers to keyboard and pen this open letter.
I think you might find that the officers’ “tarnished careers” is the result that they’re 1) lying under oath; 2) the DA’s office realizes they’re lying under oath; 3) they’re constantly being sued under §1983 for civil rights violations; and 4) they’re all the subject of several IAB investigations.
Oh, John, reputations are important. When you have a reputation for being a dirty cop who does whatever he can to get a conviction, well, that kind of taint is difficult to remove. But these reputations don’t just appear out of thin air — they’re earned and well-deserved.
And when an officer’s reputation is such that even the DA doesn’t believe them anymore — well, that’s it’s not the DA’s fault. In fact, I’m pretty certain that DA Williams knows exactly what he’s doing by refusing to use them. He should be commended by refusing to rely on officers with combustible pants.
Maybe — just maybe — this will teach other officers out there a lesson. When you swear to tell the truth and the whole truth, you do it. When you swear an oath to preserve and uphold the law and our constitution, you do it.
Sure, I understand that you’re the president of FOP5, and since it’s an elected position you have a reputation to upkeep among the members. But your reputation with the citizenry, at this point, is nil. And you’re not helping the public perception of the PPD as working to protect their own first, the public second.
When you rush to defend even the worst of the police force, you tarnish the best of FOP5 as well.
So next time you point your finger at the DA for refusing to call dirty cops to the stand, think about where blame really lies.
Or just keep saying stupid things; you seem to excel at that.
In the meantime, Mr. Williams, keep doing the right thing.
[Ed. — Defense attorney Michael Coard, in his article "The 4 Most Annoying White People in Philadelphia" has the following to say about Mr. McNesby, which made me chuckle:
He wants all criminals jailed forever. So who’s gonna wear the blue uniforms, drive the white cars and beat the black people up when the good cops’ shifts end?]