New Lawsuit Challenges Credibility of Notorious Police Drug Unit, “Stop and Frisk” Policy

Via Philadelinquency, a Philadelphia man named Frederick George has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia—including D.A. Seth Williams, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and a number of individual officers in the department’s notorious drug unit—challenging the city’s “stop and frisk” police tactics.

The suit stems from a July 2011 incident that happened while George was reporting to work as an assistant to a group home for the mentally handicapped. “Mr. George was not engaged in any illegal conduct,” the suit states. “He was simply a law-abiding pedestrian engaged in employment for a charitable organization and contributing to society.”

Despite that, he says, two officers stopped and restrained him in front of the group home’s clients. They said they had seen a gun on his hip—George says it was his lunch pail—and searched his car, where they found a bottle of Hydrocodone. George denies it was his. And, he notes, the officers in question were part of a police drug unit so notorious that prosecutors voluntarily withdrew 170 cases they were involved in. The charges against George himself were dropped in January of this year, according to the lawsuit—only after he had lost his job and the opportunity to buy a home where he planned to live.

So the suit specifically challenges the drug unit’s credibility, but also the city’s “stop and frisk” policy more broadly.

“As a direct and proximate result of the custom, policy and practice regarding the implementation of stop and frisk for the purpose of developing or discovering reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause, unconstitutional investigatory detentions, and unlawful stops, arrests, searches and seizures, and the deliberate indifference and callous disregard thereof, employed by the Defendants Philadelphia, Ramsey and employees, committed under the Color of State Law, Mr. George was deprived of his right to be secure in his person and property, bodily integrity, privacy, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and unlawful detention protected by to Due Process under the 4th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit asks for more than $150,000 in damages. Attorney Brian F. Humble is representing George. You can read the full lawsuit below:

Frederick George v. City of Philadelphia