Four Years After “Tainted Justice,” Police Still Working, Victims Waiting for Results

Remember “Tainted Justice?” It was the (deservedly) Pulitzer Prize-winning Daily News series by Barbara Laker and the now-departed Wendy Ruderman, uncovering Shield-like corruption in the Philadelphia Police Department’s Narcotics Field Unit, showing how officers sexually fondled women on raids and disabled video cameras showing evidence of their misconduct.

Four years later, what’s become of that celebrated investigation? Uh, pretty much nothing. Officers in the unit were placed on desk duty and remain there. In the meantime, an FBI probe into the scandal seems to have fizzled out, while the victims of the misconduct are often still working to rebuild their lives. Laker revisits the story today:

As a result, 10 veteran narcotics officers in two squads are in a holding pattern, stripped of the job they were trained to do, but never charged with a crime and still getting paid.

They remain on the force with low-profile jobs, their credibility and reputations tarnished.

The FBI will not comment about either squad. An FBI spokesman won’t say whether the … investigation is dead or alive. But attorneys representing alleged victims say that they have heard nothing from the feds.

City Hall has paid out more than $2 million in civil claims against the unit, but the lack of further action has proven frustrating to close observers. “I have two words—crime pays,” said Jerry Ibrahim, an attorney who represented some of the plaintiffs in those suits. “The alleged victims accuse them of committing a crime. The city pays out money for their conduct, but they still have their jobs.” [Daily News]

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