The sixth defendant in the so-called "rogue cops" case has filed a libel and defamation claim against District Attorney R. Seth Williams, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and Mayor Michael Nutter.
Officer Linwood Norman filed a writ of summons Thursday in Common Pleas Court notifying the city that he was suing the three officials.
Norman's suit follows an amended defamation claim filed last week in federal court against the same three city officials on behalf of the other five defendants in the rogue cops case -- Officers Michael Spicer, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Thomas Liciardello -- as well as the group's former supervisor, Lt. Robert Otto.
Now all six defendants who beat the rap are suing the city for defamation.
"Officer Norman was one of the six allegedly 'sick scumbags' referred to by Mayor Nutter after the indictment and he was one of the six officers who apparently was so contemptible and despicable according to Commissioner Ramsey that his badge needed to be melted," said Christopher D. Mannix, the lawyer who filed both lawsuits on behalf of the former narcotics officers and their supervisor.
The writ of summons in the Norman case was filed one day short of the one-year anniversary of the joint press conference held on July 31, 2014 by Police Commissioner Ramsey and Mayor Nutter. That's the event where Nutter called the defendants "sick scumbags" and Ramsey pledged to destroy their badges.
There's a one-year statute for libel and defamation claims.
All six defendants were found not guilty by a jury on all 47 counts in the RICO case, creating a legal predicament for Ramsey and Nutter. An arbitrator subsequently ruled that all six officers fired by Ramsey should be reinstated at their jobs with a year's back pay. The officers were also supposed to get their original badges returned to them, according to the arbitrator's decision.
In the federal case, D.A. Williams was sued for defamation because he sent a letter to the police commissioner in 2012 announcing that his office would no longer prosecute any cases brought by Officers Spicer, Reynolds, Betts, Speiser, Thomas Liciardello and Otto. The D.A.'s letter, however, didn't mention Norman. Whatever else the district attorney might have said that was defamatory about Norman is not mentioned in the writ of summons.
Judge Diamond is the same judge who's presiding over some 138 civil suits filed in federal court against the six former narcotics officers by some 200 plaintiffs. So Judge Diamond will be in charge of all civil lawsuits in the wake of the not guilty verdict in the RICO case, including the suits filed by both the cops and their alleged victims.
According to a scheduling order filed on June 2, the lawyers in the 138 civil suits against the city are supposed to jointly select six "bellwether" cases for trial by July 13. First sets of interrogatories in the bellwether cases were to submitted by July 23rd.
Armando Brigandi, the lead defense lawyer for the city, did not respond to a request for comment.