Detective: Philly Police Retaliated Against Me for Whistleblowing

In a recently settled lawsuit, a PPD detective alleges that Philly Police "iced" jailed suspects in violation of their rights — and that his superiors retaliated against him for saying so.

Philadelphia Police Headquarters, aka "The Roundhouse." | Beyond My Ken | Wikimedia Commons

Philadelphia Police Headquarters, aka “The Roundhouse.” | Beyond My Ken | Wikimedia Commons

The city has settled a lawsuit with a Philadelphia Police detective who claims his superiors retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on civil rights violations within the department.

Detective Matthew Maurizio filed the suit in spring 2014, claiming he had been punished because he told his superiors about the practice of “icing” — holding arrestees in jail without the probable cause or charges required to do so, in violation of their rights.

The practice is used to shake loose information from the arrestees, Maurizio said in his suit. (See the complaint below.)

“Icing is to induce the held person to speak, to make the person provide a statement about matters the police are criminally investigating, to coerce the held person to speak when the person did not wish to speak to police or would not fully speak with police,” Maurizio’s lawyer, Brian Puricelli, wrote in the lawsuit.

The department, in a written statement to Philly Mag, denied the icing allegations.

“The Philadelphia Police Department does not use any tactics of this sort, nor has this been a known or approved practice,” the department said. “Our members are directed to use practices and procedures that are Constitutional, appropriate, lawful and in line with our department training ethics.”

But Maurizio said he was punished after his superiors discovered he planned to testify truthfully about the practice in a federal lawsuit against the city; the city ended up settling that lawsuit as a result, he said. The result? Maurizio said he received unfavorable schedule assignments and a suspension that cost him tens of thousands of dollars in income, pension contributions and opportunities for promotion.

The case was initially settled in fall. According to court records, terms included a payment to Maurizio of $17,500 — Maurizio had initially asked for upward of $50,000. The case was closed earlier this month; conclusion was first reported by Penn Record.

Puricelli did not immediately return a call for comment.