Five years after a police scandal rocked the city, narcotics squads continue to operate like criminal gangs with impunity. By its nature, the War on Drugs fuels corruption.
By Jeff Deeney
For years in North Philly, the heart of Philadelphia’s heroin and crack trade, narcotics squads have exercised incredible powers among the poor blacks and Latinos they patrol. They have kicked in doors and manhandled people. They have put their hands on anyone they suspected of trafficking drugs. They have stepped on necks, literally. The fact that citizen complaints generally go nowhere has sent a clear message to the officers tasked with controlling the city’s drug trade: You can do whatever you want to whoever you want as long as they’re poor.
In 2008, when the war on drugs in the city was arguably at its most out of control, one narcotics squad did just that. They moved into new territory that not even other dirty cops considered fair game. They didn’t just push the limits of civil rights. They went totally rogue. When the local press broke the scandal, outrage was voiced, and cries for reform. Last month, after plodding forward for five years, a high-profile federal investigation into police corruption by a Philadelphia narcotics squad was dropped.
Read the rest at Substance.com, When Narcotics Cops Go Rogue: A Philadelphia Story