Acquitted Officers Won’t Get Parade Honor

Charity backs down after criticism.


Plans to honor six acquitted narcotics officers at a parade benefitting a police charity have been dropped after parade organizers came under criticism.

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. All had been charged with RICO conspiracy, among other counts, and all were found not guilty this month after a federal trial. 

The annual Hero Thrill Show, which raises scholarship funds for the sons and daughters of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, had planned on honoring the six at its annual parade. But those plans have been withdrawn by James J. Binns, CEO and president of the show. reports:

Last Friday, Binns told Big Trial, “These heroes have been vilified in the press and it’s time that they were recognized as the heroes they are.”

It’s safe to say that in the week since Binns, one of the defense lawyers in the rogue cops case, sent up a trial balloon, something blew it off course.

The Inquirer reported a tweet by Ed McCann, first assistant at the Philadelphia district attorney’s office who may have caught the prevailing winds of public opinion by saying, ” A not guilty verdict means the prosecution didn’t prove its case. Doesn’t mean you are innocent or owed an apology and a parade in your honor.”

The parade’s guest of honor will be Cathy Burke, owner of the Irish Pub. And as notes, proceeds from the event go to a worthy cause.