It’s only been two days since Inquirer columnist Karen Heller — memorably, we thought at the time — promised that we’d see another narcotics squad scandal in five to seven years.
Turns out her estimate might’ve been off by, oh, five to seven years.
City Paper’s reporter Dan Denvir reports that Philadelphia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes has been taken off street duty after he “admitted in December 2011 to lying in open court and on a search warrant affidavit.” Internal Affairs is investigating.
The investigation is the result of a previous City Paper report detailing how Hulmes was allowed by prosecutors to keep testifying even though he’d admitted the falsifications.
In December 2011, Philadelphia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes made the startling admission that he had lied to court officials in statements he gave during a narcotics case against Arthur Rowland, whom he had arrested in Kensington.
“I changed it,” Hulmes testified, saying he had moved back by three hours the time he allegedly set up surveillance of a suspected drug corner. It was one of a few misrepresentations he made, including false statements as to what activity took place prior to Rowland’s arrest. “I told you, I concealed [my informant’s] identity. I changed the times. I changed the times because I did not want him hurt or harmed in any way.”
Now: This isn’t the same kind of wrongdoing as, say, stealing a suspect’s money and using it to buy pizza. But lying under oath — when you fill out an affidavit, you’re swearing the contents are true — is still a crime.
The problem, Denvir wrote, is that “prosecutors have continued to call Officer Hulmes to testify and have failed to turn over evidence to defense lawyers of his admitted lying — even amid the explosive federal indictments issued last week against city narcotics officers. An unknown number of cases involving Officer Hulmes could be subject to challenge now that his admitted lying has been uncovered.”