By Helen Ubinas (Philly Daily News Columnist) – It’s time to cordon off the Philadelphia Police Department and declare it a crime scene.
At this point, what’s long been happening inside that broken department is a crime – against good cops whose reputations are tarnished by dirty cops, against residents who’ve lost faith in a force that’s supposed to protect and serve them, and against the laws that cops are supposed to uphold but that bad cops continue to break . . . and break . . . and break, with little or no consequence.
We can’t seem to go more than a few weeks without hearing about a cop getting fired, arrested or benched because of an investigation, while we’re being assured that there isn’t some systemic problem.
“This [insert latest transgression] does not represent all cops,” said [insert name of latest mayor, commissioner, police union president].
The latest black eye for the department came yesterday when six narcotics officers were arrested in a federal corruption probe, charged with robbing, kidnapping and extorting drug suspects for nearly seven years. Five of the six officers pleaded not guilty. The sixth did not have a lawyer and will be arraigned on Monday.
The feds say this band of crooked cops helped themselves to not only half a million dollars, but also to Rolex watches, electronics and a Calvin Klein suit.
Being crooks with expensive tastes wasn’t enough. The cops also apparently made a game of their corruption, assigning themselves points for beating drug suspects and even dangling one from a 30-foot-high balcony.
“These officers don’t represent the majority of this department,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
“The overwhelming majority . . . of our officers are hardworking, dedicated and honest,” Mayor Nutter said.