Trial Starts for Cops in Federal Case

Six former members of narcotics unit face racketeering charges.

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The federal trial for the six former Philadelphia police officers accused of robbing and extorting drug dealers is set to begin this week, with jury selection expected to begin on Tuesday.

The officers — Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Linwood Norman — were part of the narcotics unit in the Philadelphia Police Department

“The enterprise (1) conducted traffic stops of vehicles driven or occupied by persons suspected of being engaged in criminal activity and robbed such persons of money, drugs, and property; (2) entered premises used or occupied by persons suspected of being engaged in criminal activity and stole money and property; and (3) shared proceeds illegally obtained from individuals and premises,” federal prosecutors said, summing up the case in a pretrial memorandum filed March 6.

All are charged with RICO conspiracy. Some are individually charged with conspiracy to deprive of civil rights, deprivation of civil rights, robbery which interferes with interstate commerce, extortion which interferes with interstate commerce, carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, possession with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine, and falsification of records in a federal investigation. All have pleaded not guilty; all but Licardello are reportedly free on bail.

The Daily News reports:

Some of the alleged crimes were committed with then-Narcotics Field Unit cop Jeffrey Walker, who was arrested in May 2013 in an FBI sting while he was trying to steal $15,000 from a drug dealer’s home. Walker pleaded guilty last year to attempted robbery and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.

Walker, 46, has been cooperating with the government and is expected to testify against his former colleagues.

Defense attorneys for the six ex-cops are expected to attack the credibility of the alleged victims and Walker’s during the trial.

The pretrial memorandum is below: