Friday, May 18, 2018

Detective Files Civil Rights Suit Against D.A.

By Ralph Cipriano

On May 14, 2015, FBI Agent Vicki Humpheys, accompanied by an IRS agent, approached Pierre Gomez, a detective formerly assigned to the security detail of then-D.A. Rufus Seth Williams, and asked if Gomez was willing to cooperate in a federal corruption investigation of his boss.

Gomez's answer was yes. His reward, he claimed in a civil rights lawsuit filed today against the city, was to be repeatedly retaliated against by his superiors in the D.A.'s office.

The day after the FBI buttonholed him, Gomez's lawsuit charged, he was questioned by his bosses at the D.A.'s office about what he told the feds. Weeks later, an investigator who claimed he'd been hired by D.A. Williams's lawyers called and advised Gomez that the city "could make it good" if he stayed loyal to Williams.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks "in excess of $200,000" in damages, and names as defendants the city of Philadelphia, new D.A. Larry Krasner, former Chief of County Detectives Claude Thomas, and Detective Kenyatta Lee.

After he was assigned to the D.A.'s security detail, Gomez got involved in drug enforcement. He was a member of the D.A.'s Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit, and then he was assigned to a special task force with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"Detective Gomez excelled in his position," wrote lawyers, Robert J. McNelly and Shawn M. Rodgers of Hatboro. "He assisted in hundreds of complex narcotics investigations, and became a highly valued asset to the federal agents who oversaw his work."

But after he became a federal witness, the D.A.'s office reassigned Gomez to the Criminal Complaints Unit, "a far less prominent position, which fails to utilize the skills and experience that Detective Gomez obtained working complex federal investigations," his lawyers wrote.

It was all part of a pattern of retaliation, the lawsuit claimed.

"For the past two years, Detective Gomez has cooperated with the federal investigation concerning the corruption charges" against former D.A. Williams, the lawsuit states. "As a result of his cooperation, Detective Gomez suffered systematic retaliation from the City and the District Attorney's Office." A recent transfer to the Criminal Complaints Unit "is only the most recent example of the severe and pervasive adverse actions, with which Detective Gomez has been forced to endure," the lawsuit says.

The county had "targeted Detective Gomez and acted to discourage him from assisting investigators," the lawsuit states. "Specifically, it sought to prevent Detective Gomez from testifying before the Grand Jury and at a possible future trial. The county's retaliatory conduct violates Detective Gomez's fundamental rights protected by federal law and the United States Constitution."

Working on Williams's protection detail from 2010 to 2014, Gomez "gleaned much information regarding Williams's activities," the lawsuit said. But Gomez's cooperation with the feds did not sit well with his bosses, who, according to the lawsuit, lied to him, and tried to smear him.

"Lt. Lee claimed that the DEA task force no longer has use for Detective Gomez," the lawsuit said, even though that assertion was "directly controverted by [DEA] Assistant Special Agent In Charge Ralph Reyes and Group Supervisor Special Agent Greg White."

Lt. Lee, the lawsuit states, "filed an improper reprimand memo against [Gomez], citing specific violations of Police Department rules and regulations." The reprimand memo, which suspiciously was missing from Gomez's personnel file, "was baseless and a transparent attempt to tarnish the stellar employment record of Detective Gomez," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says the retaliatory acts against Gomez included a decision by his bosses to deny about $30,000 worth of overtime assignments on wiretap duty. Gomez's repeated requests to work overtime were repeatedly denied by his superiors, the lawsuit states.

And that's not all his bosses did to Gomez. In 2016, the lawsuit states, Gomez's superiors leaked the detective's "name and personal information" to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter -- "even though [Gomez] was presently at work on a covert assignment with the DEA."

A reporter requested the names, salaries and overtime figures for members of Seth Williams's security detail, the lawsuit charges. And an assistant D.A. promptly provided the reporter with that information.

"For the purpose of retribution, the County intentionally risked the life and safety of Detective Gomez," the lawsuit states. In addition to outing him, the county assigned Gomez to an unmarked car that Gomez subsequently discovered was "experiencing a product recall in regard to its seatbelts." When Gomez reported the recall to his supervisors, the lawsuit said, the detective was told "to take the vehicle to an unauthorized repair shop on his own time."

"After three weeks of riding in a vehicle with defective seatbelts, Detective Gomez decided to comply with the recall at his own expense," the lawsuit states.

On March 14, 2016, Chief of County Detectives Claude Thomas circulated an email to all personnel formerly assigned to Williams's security detail, to tell them "not to respond" to third party inquiries" regarding Seth Williams, the lawsuit states.

When Gomez received a grand jury subpoena, he promptly told Thomas. The detective asked his boss "whether Thomas's directive applied to federal inquiries, including the subpoena." According to the lawsuit, the answer was yes.

On Aug. 1, 2017, just weeks after Seth Williams pleaded guilty, the D.A.'s office notified Gomez that he was being transferred from the DEA task force to the Criminal Complaints Unit. The D.A.'s office also "implemented a policy, practice or custom" to "dissuade Detective Gomez from cooperating with FBI investigators," the lawsuit states. That policy included "testifying against Williams, either before the Grand Jury or at trial," the lawsuit said, as well as "to penalize Detective Gomez for his cooperation and anticipated testimony."

The D.A.'s office "continues to follow this police, practice or custom, as the Office continues to target, marginalize and punish Detective Gomez for cooperating with FBI investigators," the lawsuit states. The result is that the D.A.'s office has "destroyed Detective Gomez's once promising career," the detective's lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit also claims that the D.A.'s office, by retaliating against Gomez, violated the state Whistleblower Law, as well as intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the detective.


  1. Hello Ralph!
    I can tell you that I am a faithful reader of your blog and am a fan. Especially of your tireless work regarding the unfair and illegal prosecution of the Msgr Lynn et al prosecution in the Archdiocese trial involving Danny Gallagher. However, I can also tell you unequivocally that you are picking the wrong person as your hero in this DA Office mess. This guy, Pierre Gomez, is an out and out fraud! He is using circumstance and coincidence to try to get a pay day but the facts that his lawyer presents are fraught with holes. This bird has built his resume upon sand that should easily evaporate under any kind of reasonable scrutiny. He supposedly was prepared to testify against Seth Williams under a grant of immunity. Under what crime was he being immunized? His wire experience and narcotic background is blown entirely out of proportion and is actually laughable to any seasoned narcotic law enforcement agent. He arrived at the DA Office as a friend of Seth. He was assigned to the security detail because of that friendship. He acted as though he was the most important person in the office under Seth to the point of making calls to obtain training outside the scope of his experience using the DA's name to get approval. This is how Pierre became a "pro" in the narcotic investigative field. Then when Seth's path seemed to be destined for the trash heap Pierre eagerly chose to do whatever he could to capitalize on the situation. I submit that after Seth's withdrawal from the office Pierre's phoniness became exposed and that was the genesis of his fall from the narcotic investigation field. That of course coupled with the fact that he has never conducted a narcotic investigation in his life. Nor would he he know how. You do not have to print my rant but I hope you look further into the story that Pierre and his attorney are promulgating. If for no other reason than to save yourself from backing the exact guy you do not want to back. Again, I enjoy your work!
    God bless!

  2. Well, we all have our fans and our critics. In this case, I am just reporting the facts as alleged in a federal lawsuit. And they don't exactly paint a pretty picture of the DA's office. The city, of course, will get their chance to respond.

    Glad you enjoy reading the blog.

  3. Ralph, thank you for providing the above rebuttal submitted by presumably an informed source.

    Your refreshing brand of journalism is a sterling example of what should be the norm rather than the slop that MSM regularly serves.

  4. Prosecutors lie, FBI agents lie, but it goes without saying that the IRS are liars. The IRS is a tool used by most prosecutors to indict defendants.

    Who can forget Lois Lerners or John Koskinen lying testimony before Congress, if a taxpayer acted the way they did by destroying emails and and lying it would a criminal offense or jail time but not so if you work for the IRS.

    They adhere to a lower standard of conduct than most any other government agencies. Can we use a very overused word these days, collusion, to describe the relationship between prosecutors and the IRS.

    The fact that the IRS legitimized Gomez is not surprising, it strengthened their case against Williams.

  5. Why has Prosecution either Federal, State, or Local given a free pass to the Weiss Crime Family who exploited the criminal weakness of the corrupt DA Williams, and have not charged nor prosecuted them for crimes past and present?

    Anastasia runs the story ad nauseum about the mentally challenged Merlino Crime Family but never any other Master Crime Syndicates locally, who operate with impunity.

    The last time GA met a real crimeboss was when Mrs.Martorano kicked him to the curb.

  6. Gomez had a charmed career & benefited from being on the DA's security detail. His "wire training" was a favor as well.From all indications he was sent away from the office (DEA assignment) to protect him and then was a substandard employee at best which led to his transfer to a complaint unit. If you mean "once promising career" by way of working on easy details and getting easy OT? Then yes, by Seth Williams being in jail it hinders that for Mr.Gomez. Mr Gomez apparently also ran up bills at the union league under his former bosses name and was a target of a sexual assault case as well. I guess that's his ex bosses fault too?
    We all, Appreciate your work and reporting Mr Cipriano, keep up the great work but this one will make MR. Gomez squirm if it ever goes to court.

  7. Innocenceproject BREAKING NEWS: Pennsylvania judge vacated the conviction of our client John Kunco who is expected to be released tonight after serving 28 years for a rape he did not commit.
    Kunco's case is the 31st wrongful conviction or indictment involving the use of erroneous bite mark evidence.
    “He got justice today but he will not get his life back,” said Karen Thompson, a senior staff attorney with the Innocence Project.

    “There have now been at least 31 people wrongly convicted or indicted based on erroneous bite mark evidence, yet courts continue to let prosecutors proffer this unreliable evidence,” said Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation for the Innocence Project. Dana Delger, a staff attorney with the strategic litigation department added, “The gross injustice to Mr. Kunco underscores the need for the courts to acknowledge that bite mark evidence is not backed by science and shouldn’t be used in criminal investigations and trials.”
    “We are grateful to the court for vacating Mr. Kunco’s conviction and restoring his freedom,” said Thompson. “Now that there is irrefutable DNA evidence proving Mr. Kunco’s innocence, we hope the district attorney will move quickly to dismiss the indictment.”


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