The COPS television show theme song, “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?” is meant to be directed at lousy low down criminals but in this case, the song seems equally applicable to six corrupt officers from the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD). The six men, all former narcotics officers, have been busted on levels of corruption that make the common criminal look like a walk in the park compared to this six-pack’s criminal activity. Worse, as police officers they have more than let down their community and have jeopardized the public’s trust in law enforcement. These Philadelphia “bad boy” cops who swore an oath to “serve and protect” have definitely come down on the wrong side of the law.
The United States Attorney’s Office has indicted the six police officers on charges that include robbery, kidnapping, drug dealing, conspiracy and extortion. The case against the men was investigated by the Internal Affairs Department at the PPD in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Just one of those charges would have been enough to shame an officer but to have so many levied against them has garnered the case a description by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey as one of the “worst cases of corruption.”
Ramsey spoke about how uncomfortable it feels to have to deal with this kind of corruption in the department but made it clear that there is a zero tolerance policy for “disgraceful behavior.” He further stated that the corrupt officers in no way represent the “majority of the department” which he describes as “dedicated” and willing to work “endlessly” to keep criminals off the streets. Recognizing the breach of trust represented by the scurrilous behavior of the six bad cops under his watch, he reassured the community that the PPD would continue in its efforts to develop a “trusting relationship with the community.”
Examples of the criminal behavior engaged in by the corrupt Philadelphia officers, whose service years ranged from 19 to 24 years with the department and who ranged in age from 38 to 46 years old, read like a cheesy cop movie except that their reality makes them very disturbing. In one incident a man was dangled off a 35th floor balcony in a style akin to the acting behaviors of Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series or Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies. Another man was dangled off an 18th floor balcony in an attempt to rob him of some $79,000 in cold cash and, by some accounts, to steal his suit. In addition, quantities of cocaine were stolen by these cops, police reports were falsified and at least one incidence of kidnapping involving the detaining of a drug suspect in a hotel room for almost a week while sending threats to his family.
The level of corruption the six Philadelphia police officers engaged in, while perhaps sounding like a cheap television show with a bad theme song, is actually a very serious set of offenses and they are likely to be singing a very different tune while incarcerated. Sadly, if they have families, their family members will likely bear the brunt of community scorn in addition to the loss of financial support, family integrity and honor.
These six corrupt cops have tarnished their badges, criminally affected their communities and clearly have come down on the wrong side of the law. However, the six have been thoroughly busted and there is little doubt that the majority of the Philadelphia Police Department will continue to honor their oaths to serve and protect and that these six bad cops were an anomaly, not the norm.
Opinion By Alana Marie Burke