Southeastern PA

6 Philadelphia police officers charged in corruption case

Dozens of drug convictions overturned in the wake of scandal

PHILADELPHIA - Six Philadelphia narcotics officers were indicted Wednesday on racketeering and other charges for allegedly shaking down drug suspects for drugs and money, said United States Attorney Zane Memeger.

The officers once held a suspect over an 18th floor balcony and used a steel bar to beat someone else in the head, said authorities, who added that another suspect was held captive in a hotel room for several days while he and his family were threatened.

The officers were identified as:

  • Thomas Liciardello, 38, a 19-year veteran of the force with 12 years in narcotics;
  • Perry Betts, 46, a 19-year veteran with 13 years in narcotics;
  • Norman Linwood, 46, a 24-year veteran with 16 years in narcotics;
  • Brian Reynolds, 43, a 20-year veteran with 13 years in narcotics;
  • John Speiser, 42, a 19-year veteran with five years in narcotics;
  • Michael Spicer, 46, a 19-year veteran with 12 years in narcotics.

The officers were dismissed from the force and charged with RICO conspiracy, robbery, extortion, kidnapping and drug dealing.

"We don't tolerate this type of disgraceful behavior, and these officers don't represent the majority of this department, said Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia Police Department. "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."

In February, former Officer Jeffrey Walker pleaded guilty to stealing $15,000 from a drug dealer in a plot that also involved planting drugs in his car. His attorney has acknowledged Walker was cooperating in a wider probe of the drug trafficking unit.

Dozens of drug convictions have been overturned in the wake of the scandal, officials said.

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