Narcotics officer who lied insists he’s being truthful

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By Joseph A. Slobodzian, (Philly Inquirer)

Two years ago, a veteran police narcotics officer was labeled a liar by a Philadelphia judge who tossed evidence seized from an alleged drug dealer, destroying the prosecution’s case.

The Philadelphia Police Department has removed Christopher Hulmes from street duty pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation; the city has paid $150,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit against him, and another is pending in federal court.

But Hulmes told another Philadelphia judge on Tuesday that he was telling the truth about the June 14 arrest of alleged Kensington drug buyer Richard Hill.

Hulmes testified before Municipal Court Judge T. Francis Shields on a defense motion to bar prosecutors from using evidence in the Hill case.

Prosecutors say police seized six packets of “Good Luck” heroin when they stopped Hill’s green Dodge Intrepid on Lehigh Avenue near A Street. Defense attorneys Eric Zuckerman and Elizabeth-Ann Tierney insist that the evidence against Hill, 55, is tainted because Hulmes admitted lying during the earlier case. Shields said he would rule Friday.

Hulmes, 42, admitted that he lied in the 2010 drug case against Arthur Rowland, 33, but said he wanted to protect a confidential source. Hulmes said he feared that his source, who worked for Rowland’s drug business, would be harmed if identified.

“I didn’t want him killed,” Hulmes testified. “Would I do it the same way again? No.”

In addition to lying to obtain an arrest warrant for Rowland, Hulmes also admitting lying during Rowland’s parole hearing.

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About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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