|Michael Spicer [left] with Brian Reynolds and Perry Betts|
An arbitrator ruled today that all six defendants in the alleged "rogue cops" case are getting their jobs back.
"They are back on the payroll right now," James J. Binns, the lawyer who represented Officer Michael Spicer, said of the six defendants. "They're being paid as of today."
The former narcotics officers will also be receiving a year's worth of back pay.
"Obviously it's been recognized that these men never did anything wrong and they've been totally vindicated of all the charges that have been leveled against them," Binns said. "Mike [Spicer]'s on cloud nine."
The six members of the narcotics field unit were charged in a 26-count federal indictment with allegedly using their positions to run a criminal enterprise. The rogue cops, the feds said, robbed and beat the drug dealers they arrested out of at least $500,000 worth of cash and drugs. The feds also accused the cops of falsifying police reports to cover their tracks.
It was a case filled with over-the-top charges. And not much to back it up except the uncorroborated allegations of a bunch of drug dealers.
The rogue cops, the feds said, had allegedly dangled a couple of drug dealers by their feet off of high balconies. They had allegedly used sledgehammers to blast open drug dealers' front doors. They supposedly beat one drug dealer with a steel bar in the back of the head and kicked in his teeth. They had allegedly kidnapped another drug dealer and held him hostage. They had allegedly stole Rolex watches, iPods, and a Calvin Klein suit.
At a press conference the day of the arrests, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey declared, "I have been a police officer for more than 40 years and this is one of the worst cases of corruption that I have ever heard."
Ramsey vowed to melt down the officers' badges.
Then, the case went to trial for nearly six weeks and a jury heard all the evidence or lack thereof. On May 14, the jury unanimously acquitted Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman and John Speiser of all 47 charges. It was a complete repudiation of the government's racketeering case.
"They had all the transcripts from the trial, they had all the exhibits," Binns said of the FOP lawyers. "They were prepared to go to trial immediately."
"It's been almost a year since they were arrested and indicted," Binns said of the defendants.
On July 30, 2014, the FBI raided the officers' homes at 5 a.m., with guns drawn, and placed them under arrest.
In the past year, the six cops have been "indicted, arrested, set free on bail, tried, acquitted vindicated, and got their jobs back," Binns said. "Obviously the system works."
The officers were represented by FOP President John McNesby, who showed up at trial to support the narcs, as well as FOP labor lawyer Thomas Jennings.
In spite of Ramsey's stated intentions to melt the officers' badges, Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the officers would be getting their original badges back.
McDonald also told the Inquirer, a Johnny-come-lately on the story, that the officers would not be returning to the narcotics unit, but would instead be reassigned to various police districts and the impound lot.
Binns called this case from the beginning.
In an Aug. 12, 2014 bail hearing, Binns told Judge Eduardo Robreno, "We believe that we will prevail on every one of the charges. He [Spicer] will leave your courtroom not guilty of one single crime."
Maybe when the cops go back to work Commissioner Ramsey will finally get around to apologizing.