Sgt. Joseph McCloskey told the prosecutor that he never read the federal indictment against the six narcotics officers he used to supervise because, "I just don't believe it."
And when the sergeant showed up for an interview at FBI headquarters, he angrily told the feds he'd been "passed over for promotion because of this shit."'
On the witness stand today for more than five hours, Sgt. McCloskey was blunt and prickly, especially when he was standing up for his guys on the narcotics squad.
"The quality of their work was exceptional" McCloskey said of the six defendants that he supervised for some ten years. But Officer Jeff Walker was another story, the sergeant told the jury. That guy used to show up so drunk on the job he couldn't remember where he left his gun.
"I was the supervisor," McCloskey told the jury. The guy who signed the search warrants and property receipts. The guy on the other end of the police radio who would hustle out to a drug bust or a surveillance site to back up his guys.
The mission of the Narcotics Unit was to get drugs and guns off the streets of Philadelphia, the sergeant testified.
When his squad scored some drugs, McCloskey bagged the stuff in heat-sealed plastic.
When his squad raided drug dealers' houses and found stacks of money, McCloskey counted the cash.
One drug dealer's mother, McCloskey recounted, was impressed with how fast the sergeant could count a stack of money.
"You must have worked in a bank," she said.
I did, McCloskey told the jury. For six years before he became a cop, he worked as a bank teller.
When the squad pulled over Robert Kushner, the marijuana dealer was sampling his product while driving his maroon Hummer. Sgt. McCloskey was the guy who got the police dog out at the scene for a "sniff" test.
"I called K-9 for the Hummer," he said.
Sgt. McCloskey was there back in 2007 when his squad busted dope dealer Michael Cascioli at his 19th floor penthouse. The bust didn't go down the way the drug dealer described it, Sgt. McCloskey told the jury. The drug dealer had claimed the cops wore ski masks and didn't identify themselves. The drug dealer told the jury he thought the Mafia was after him.
The sergeant was one of the guys waiting in the stairwell.
"People were yelling police," he testified. "It was pretty noisy in that stairwell."
"I sat down next to him," McCloskey said about the drug dealer. He was staring at pictures posted on the fridge of his last trip to Costa Rica.
"I should have stayed there," the drug dealer lamented.
"Do you want to help yourself," the sergeant said he told the drug dealer. "We got you pretty f-ing good."
Did a couple of your guys hold the drug dealer by his feet and dangle him off the 19th floor balcony, defense lawyer Jack McMahon asked.
"Absolutely not," the sergeant said. If that had really happened, "We wouldn't be here today," McCloskey told the jury. "I would have taken care of that seven years ago."
Did the cops steal $18,000 from hearing impaired drug dealer Michael Procopio?
"No, it's a lie," McCloskey said.
But the sergeant did hear the drug dealer toss an ethnic slur at Officer Thomas Liciardello.
"Hey macaroni head, why are you doing this to me," McCloskey said he overheard the drug dealer tell the cop.
While he lauded the work of the defendants, McCloskey said that former Officer Jeff Walker, now the government's star witness, was a less than stellar performer.
The sergeant talked derisively about "Walker's less than active performances in the squad."
"He was not going out and doing active investigations," McCloskey said of Walker. "He was just laying back. I thought it was unfair to the squad."
Did Jeff Walker really help himself to six of 13 pounds of marijuana that the squad had packed away as evidence in sealed bags, McMahon was asked.
"It's ridiculous," McCloskey told the jury. First of all the property receipts have the true weight of each bag, the sergeant said. Second, if Walker actually tried to pull a stunt like that, "You violate the seals" on the bags of evidence, McCloskey said.
It couldn't happen.
McCloskey testified about the day Jeff Walker was so drunk he forgot where he left his gun.
"He was in a cold sweat," McCloskey testified. "He was semi-intoxicated. He said to me he lost his gun."
Walker told the sergeant, "Betcha it was Tommy [Liciardello] who did it," McCloskey testified.
When a couple of cops found the gun in Walker's squad car, McCloskey had another officer drive Walker home unarmed.
"I took the gun off of him and put it in my safe," McCloskey said.
Walker was a mess, McCloskey testified. The cop's marriage was on the rocks, he had made some bad investments, and he was drinking heavily.
"It was a gradual slide down a slippery slope," McCloskey said about Walker. At the end of his slide,
Walker wound up on the witness stand telling lies.
The officer showed up drunk at work.
"He was pretty banged up a couple of times," the sergeant said.
It got to the point where the only cop on the squad who would work with Walker was Officer Linwood Norman, a fellow African-American.
But even Norman finally had enough.
"Officer Norman requested to leave the squad," McCloskey said. "I told Officer Norman I didn't want to lose him but he put in the paper work to go to another squad."
After Norman split, nobody wanted to work with Walker, McCloskey said.
The sergeant told Walker he would let him partner with any officer he chose. But out of a pool of some 200 officers, nobody would work with Walker, McCloskey said.
After Officer Norman left the squad, Walker worked alone until he was busted in an FBI sting operation walking out of a drug dealer's house with $15,000 and five pounds of marijuana.
McCloskey was asked about the arrest of marijuana dealer Victor Rosario. The cops pulled Rosario over in a Lowe's parking lot on a day he was driving around with ten pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a rented Honda Accord.
"Most amazing thing I've seen in 26 years," the sergeant testified. Rosario "gave up himself" and told the squad about the house where he was stashing guns and drugs.
Note to Victor Rosario -- the next time a cop stops you and says we think you're a burglary suspect, can you hang around to meet the victim, take off.
"It's a ruse," McCloskey confided. You tell a guy he's a burglary suspect because he knows he didn't rob anybody. So he thinks he can beat the rap.
If the cops told a suspect to hang around because they thought he had drugs on him, the suspect would take off, McCloskey said.
After they pulled Rosario over, "I called K-9 to do a sniff around the car," McCloskey told the jury.
Did the cops actually steal $5,000 that Rosario had tucked in his wallet, McCloskey was asked.
"I don't know how you can keep $5,000 in your wallet," the former bank teller testified.
Did the cops help themselves to a Rolex watch and a cache of Tiffany jewelry that Rosario had supposedly stashed at his place?
"No watches or jewelry were taken from any location," McCloskey flatly said.
"I had a set policy," McCloskey said. The narcotics squad was after drugs and money. They didn't touch jewelry because you never knew whether it was fake or not.
"We never confiscated jewelry," McCloskey said.
Rosario, McCloskey confided, was a sloppy housekeeper.
"The place was a mess," the sergeant said.
When they raided drug dealer Jason Kennedy, did you notice any injuries, McMahon asked.
Kennedy had claimed that one of the cops punched him in the mouth, pushing a tooth through his lip, and knocking him down on a hard tile floor, leaving a big bump on the back of his head.
"None whatsoever," McCloskey said.
If you had seen any blood on Kennedy, what would have happened?
"He would have been transported to the hospital," McCloskey said.
The defendants found a pile of cash in Kennedy's apartment. McCloskey counted it. So did Lt. Otto.
A government exhibit showed the lieutenant counting a pile of money on his desk -- $130,970.
"It's the largest amount of money that we ever seized," McCloskey said proudly.
Did the cops bust out Kennedy's window with a sledgehammer, McMahon asked.
"No," the sergeant said, contradicting the testimony of the drug dealer. "We don't carry sledgehammers."
McCloskey was also there the day the cops raided former state trooper Kenneth Williams' row house.
"Not a big job," McCloskey said. The cops only found 25 grams of marijuana.
Williams was also a bigger slob than Rosario, McCloskey told the jury.
"It didn't smell real good," McCloskey said about the suspect's row house. There was "trash all over," the sergeant said.
What about the story Williams told on the witness stand? That he had $14,000 stashed in a pair of pants and the cops stole it.
"Not that I'm aware of," McCloskey said. "If somebody had $14,000 in that house, I don't know why they were staying there."
At the end of the day, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek only had about 45 minutes to cross-examine the sergeant. The prosecutor began with McCloskey's interview with the feds.
You insisted that the interview be videotaped, Wzorek told the witness. You brought a lawyer. You insisted on a proffer, an informal session where the ground rules usually are nothing you say will be used against you.
"You waited six months to interview me," McCloskey shot back.
You wanted a proffer so that you would have "no criminal liability," the prosecutor argued.
"That is correct," McCloskey agreed.
The cross-examination of Sgt. McCloskey will continue when court resumes at 9 a.m. tomorrow.