Five former Philadelphia narcotics officers who were acquitted in May aftera police corruption trial have sued the police commissioner and district attorneyfor defamation, as a former colleague will learn how long he’ll serve in federal prison Wednesday.
Those court actions are serving as areminder that the aftermath of high-profile policecorruption case continues to make its way through the courts.
Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of about nine years for former Philadelphia Police OfficerJeffreyWalker, whotestified against six former colleagues on Narcotics Field Unit who were accused – and acquitted -of robbing, kidnapping and beating drug dealers.
Those colleagues have since won their jobs back, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to return to the narcotics squad.
The lawsuit againstMayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was filed over statements the officials made after the cops were accused by federal prosecutors. It was moved to federal court this month.
Ramsey called the allegations “one of the worst cases of police corruption I have ever seen” and he pledged to melt the badges the men wore.
Cameron Kline, the district attorney’s spokesman told Metro Tuesday that the DA’s stance hasn’t changed.
“We’re continuing to not use those officers in court,” Kline said.
Williams, for his part, was sued because of a 2012 letter he wrote to Ramsey, saying that he would not accept the officers’ testimony in drug cases.
But Christopher Mannix, a lawyer representing the cops said in court filings that the criminal case against the cops was “laughable,” and he wants a hearing to officially clear the officers’ names.
He told Metro on Tuesday that the officers it is a “tragedy” that the cops will likely not be able to work again as narcotics officers.
“They were, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, the best officers in Philadelphia narcotics police history,” Mannix said.
Walker was caught planting evidence on a drug dealer so he could burglarize his house in an FBI sting in 2013.
He agreed to testify against his former squad in an effort to reduce his sentence.
Walker been in jail since his May 2013 arrest, meaning Walker could serve about seven more.
In a federal courtroom later this afternoon, lawyers involved in suits will meet to set a schedule for roughly one dozen cases that have been selected to help set the pace for more than 130 other civil rights lawsuits over the officers’ alleged conduct.
In those civil cases, attorneys for the city and for people who claim their rights were violated will proceed gather evidence and testimony so that both sides can evaluate whether to settle or go to trial.